Asteroid vs Meteor vs Comet

Despite common misconceptions, these space phenomena are different from each other. An asteroid is a small solar system body in orbit around the Sun, which are sometimes referred to or classed as minor planets. A meteoroid, however, is a sand-to-boulder-sized particle of debris drifting through space in orbit around the Sun or other bodies.

Asteroid vs Meteor vs CometThey are smaller than asteroids and tend to travel at higher speeds; their composition ranging from iron to ice. Crucially, though, meteoroids differ from meteors and meteorites, although they are all part of the same body. A meteor is the visible streak of light that occurs when a meteoroid enters the Earth’s atmosphere, while a meteorite is the remaining part of the meteoroid that impacts Earth.

Finally, comets are ice-based small solar system bodies that when close to the Sun display a visible coma (a nebulous temporary atmosphere) and tail of ice, dust and rock particles. Comets, unlike asteroids, generally originate in the outer solar system.