Comets and Asteroids

Comets and Asteroids
By Derek Smith &
Noah Duncan
Asteroids: General Information
Size: couple kilometers-1,000 kilometers
Location: Asteroid belt (mainly)
Distance from sun: 1-5 au (149,588,000747,940,000 kilometers)
Asteroids: In Depth
• Asteroids are basically small bodies of rocks
that orbit the Sun. They are left over from the
time that the universe was formed that some
scientists call the Big Bang. Asteroids range in
size, some as big as 1,000 kilometers.
Although some asteroids are rather big, all of
the universe’s asteroids put together would
create a body less than that Earth’s moon.
Asteroid Belt
• Most of the Universe’s asteroids are contained
in an area called the Asteroid Belt. The
Asteroid Belt is located between the planets
of Mars and Jupiter. Even though asteroids are
stuck in those planets’ orbits, they orbit the
Sun. To be exact, 99% of the Universe’s
asteroids are contained in the Asteroid Belt.
Asteroid Classification
• Many people don’t know what to call
asteroids when they see them. Rocks in space
are called asteroids. When an asteroid enters
the atmosphere, it is called a meteoroid.
When a meteoroid burns up and hits the
Earth, it is called a meteorite.
Other Info/Fun Facts
• The word “asteroid” comes from a Greek word
meaning “star-like.” Asteroids have axi and
spin very slow on them, although it only takes
a few hours to complete a rotation. Asteroids
can be called a planetesimal, which is a piece
of planets from long ago.
Comets: General Information
• Location: Varies….
• Size: 1-10 kilometers
• Distance from Sun: couple au-8 trillion
• Orbital period: most take around 20 Earth
years, but some as much as 2,000 years
Comets: In Depth
• Comets are balls of ice, rocks, and gas that
orbit the Sun in an elliptical path. The most
famous part of a comet is the tail, which will
be gone into depth in the next slide. There are
two different types of comets, long-period and
short-period. Short- period comets have as
short a orbit as 20 years, while long-period
comets can be have an orbit as long as 2,000
Comet Tails
• The most famous thing that comes to mind for
comets is definitely the tail. They are very
thin,even though it may look huge. A comet’s
tail is actually 2 tails, and can even be three!
These tails can stretch out as much as millions
of miles into space.
Explanation Behind Comet Tails
• When a comet in it’s orbit comes within a few
au of the Sun, its nucleus starts to burn and
substances melt off and carries some particles
with it. These particles form the comas, or
Other Info/Fun Facts
• There is a long-period comet that you
probably have heard of called Halley’s Comet.
It was discovered by Professor Halley in 1986.
That is the last time it was seen, and is not
expected to be seen again until 2061, 86 years
Computer Sources
NASA Solar
Harvard Astrophysics Research
Book Sources
Earth and Space Science: Exploring Our Universe
Dr. Gustavo Loret de Mola---Copyright 2009
Astronomy DeMYSTiFieD
Stan Gibilisco---Copyright 2003

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