Dwarf Planets and Planetoids


Other Solar System Bodies

(Kuiper Belt & Oort cloud)

*Comets, Meteoroids, Asteroids

*Comets click here for extra stuff!

external image comets.jpg-made of frozen gas & dust

-come from oort

-have VERY elongated elliptical orbits

-get smaller each pass around Sun as they melt

-have 2 tails: ion & dust

-ion tail always points away from sun

-parts: nucleus, coma, ion tail, dust tail

-famous comets to look into: Halley’s, Hayakutake,Comet Hale-bopp

The Bizarre and Tragic Hale-Bopp Inspired Heaven's Gate Event in March 1997

Fun with comet orbits:

external image asteroid.jpg
-huge chunks of rock and/or metal in space
-majority found in the asteroid belt
-thought to be left over bits from formation of solar system 4.6 billion years ago that Jupiter’s gravity interfered with forming a planet
-some near Earth asteroids with names are seen at the right

3 Types of Asteroids:
  1. a.monolith - one rock
  2. b.binary- 2 rocks held side-by-side by gravity
  3. c.rubble pile- cluster of rocks held together by gravity

*there may be as many a over a Billion asteroids/meteoroids in the asteroid belt!


METEOROIDS click here for more
external image _39707333_meteoroids2_info416.gif
-Identical to asteroids except in size, meteoroids are just mini-versions of their bigger “cousins”

-meteoroids can be as small as a grain of sand like the bits of dust that come off of comets’ tails

The only difference between the following terms is their location:

1. Meteoroid- out in space

2. Meteor- burningin Earth’s atmosphere (often misnamed “shooting stars”)

3. Meteorite- strikes Earth’s surface

Check yourself:

  1. How are comets different from asteroids/meteoroids in composition, orbit, origin, and shape?
  2. What are the three different names for meteoroids, and how do they differ?
  3. What are the three types of Asteroids?