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Meteors, Asteroids and Comets - Term Paper Example

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The author describes the meteors, asteroids, and comets that traverse our solar system. The author also describes past collisions between these objects and the Earth and the effect that these collisions apparently have had on evolution and identifies what can be done to protect the human race…
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Meteors, Asteroids and Comets
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Download file to see previous pages There are significant differences between them just as there are differences between planets and stars but there is also a level of threat associated with them as they move around space.

To understand these minor players in cosmic terms is important for any student of geology, history, astronomy, physics, and even social sciences since they can have an impact on how we think about the solar system as well as the world around us. Therefore, it would be best if each of these players is examined individually before a discussion can be made about their possible impact on the earth in the past and the future.

Comets are small bodies in the solar system that go around the Sun in a more or less elliptical orbit. They are distinguished by their tail which is created due to the partial atmosphere the comets have and due to solar radiation acting upon the comet. Some parts of the comet may include rock along with ice. Their elliptical orbit often brings them close to the sun and they can even strike planets in their path such as the comet that struck Jupiter a few years ago. When they move close to a planet, their movement, as well as their orbit, can be affected by the gravitational pull of the planet body that can cause them to crash into their sun or even move out of their set orbits (NASA, 2007).

While in ancient times, comets were given a mythical status today we know and understand them far better. In fact, a dozen comets are discovered each year and we know that most of the comets come from a region of icy bodies which is located beyond the orbit of Neptune. The comets coming from this belt have relatively short orbits and more or less have predictable paths. On the other hand, comets coming from a distant region called the Oort cloud can take as long as 30 million years to complete one orbit, therefore, their path is rather difficult to calculate or estimate (NASA, 2007). ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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