• On February 15, 2013, a meteor exploded in the air over Chelyabinsk, a region in southern Russia. A meteor is a “space rock” that has crashed into Earth’s atmosphere. Most meteors are tiny and not dangerous. They burn up in the atmosphere, causing their nicknames “shooting star” or “falling star.”
    The Chelyabinsk meteor was no ordinary meteor, though! It had a mass of about 11,000 metric tons (12,125 short tons) when it entered Earth’s atmosphere. Most of the Chelyabinsk meteor burned up when it exploded in the sky. When the space rock was found at the bottom of a nearby lake, it didn’t even weigh one ton. That’s like going from the weight of more than 1,600 elephants to one crocodile.
  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    asteroid Noun

    irregularly shaped planetary body, ranging from 6 meters (20 feet) to 933 kilometers (580 miles) in diameter, orbiting the sun between Mars and Jupiter.

    astrophysicist Noun

    person who studies the relationship between matter, energy, motion, and force outside the Earth's atmosphere.

    atmosphere Noun

    layers of gases surrounding a planet or other celestial body.

    Encyclopedic Entry: atmosphere
    char Verb

    to burn.

    meteor Noun

    rocky debris from space that enters Earth's atmosphere. Also called a shooting star or falling star.

    Encyclopedic Entry: meteor
    meteorite Noun

    type of rock that has crashed into Earth from outside the atmosphere.

    Encyclopedic Entry: meteorite
    orbit Verb

    to move in a circular pattern around a more massive object.

    Encyclopedic Entry: orbit
    region Noun

    any area on the Earth with one or more common characteristics. Regions are the basic units of geography.

    Encyclopedic Entry: region
    shock wave Noun

    moving, measurable change in pressure and density of a material.

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