What is a meteorite?

A meteorite is a natural object from space that survives atmospheric entry and lands on Earth.

The_Hoba_Meteorite_near_GrootfonteinThis is the world’s largest space rock. The Hoba meteorite was found in 1920 in Namibia. It weighs 60 tons and is too large to move and so is still located where it first landed about 80,000 years ago.

So what ‘s the difference between a meteorite and a meteor?

A meteor, or shooting star, is a tiny space particle that burns up in the atmosphere. A meteorite is a much bigger fragment and survives atmospheric entry and lands on the Earth’s surface.

2013_Chelyabinsk_meteor_trace

Trail left by Chelyabinsk fireball on February 15th, 2013.The Chelyabinsk asteroid is estimated to have had an original diameter of about 17 metres.

Cheljabinsk_meteorite_fragment

 Fragment of Chelyabinsk meteorite. The outer surface is coated in dark fusion crust showing well-developed flow lines. Internally the meteorite is heavily shocked, as shown by the dark zones of shock melt. Image:. S.Buhl/Wikipedia