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.
person who studies the relationship between matter, energy, motion, and force outside the Earth's atmosphere.
layers of gases surrounding a planet or other celestial body.
Encyclopedic Entry: atmosphere char Verb
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.