Major Funding The Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation



Asteroids and Comets: Glossary

A

Ammonia
Colorless gaseous compound composed of nitrogen and hydrogen
Asteroid Belt
Collection of asteroids orbiting between Mars and Jupiter
Atmosphere
Gaseous layer surrounding a planet
asteroids
Rocky remains from the formation of the solar system

C

Carbon Dioxide
Colorless, odorless gas – when frozen, known as dry ice
Century
100-year interval
Ceres
Largest asteroid in the asteroid belt
Circumference
Distance around a circular shape – similar to a perimeter
Climate
General weather over a region
Coma
Cloudy envelope around the nucleus of a comet
Comets
Body of gas, ice, and dust that orbits the sun

D

Dawn
NASA space mission to investigate the asteroids Ceres and Vesta
Debris
Junk, garbage
Decade
10-year interval
Dwarf Planet
Small planet

E

Environment
All things surrounding and affecting life

F

Friction
Rubbing of one surface against another

G

Gravitational Pull
Pull of gravity between masses

I

Impact Crater
depression in the ground created by the impact of an asteroid, meteoroid or comet

K

Kuiper Belt
region of space on the edge of our solar system

M

Meteor
A meteoroid that has entered the earth's atmosphere
Meteorite
The remains of a meteoroid that has fallen to the earth
Meteoroid
Small rocky body traveling through space
Methane
Simple hydrocarbon gas released during decomposition

N

Nucleus
Center of a collection of materials – center of a comet

O

Oort Cloud
region of space beyond Pluto where comets lie

P

Perseid Meteor Shower
In August the earth moves through a field of debris and the resulting meteors that burn up in the atmosphere can be seen

R

Rosetta Mission
International mission between ESA and NASA to study a comet

S

solar system
The sun, planets, moons, asteroids, meteoroids, comets and additional matter between

T

Tail
The venting of gases that show following the heating of a comet by the sun's energy

V

Vesta
Second most massive asteroid in the asteroid belt

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