The Science Behind the Meteor That Lit Up the North American Sky
What's the difference between a meteor, a meteoroid, and a meteorite?
On January 16, parts of the sky looked like they were on fire. But what people from New York City to sections of Canada saw was actually a meteor, rather than a foreshadowing of the end of the world.
According to NASA, the space chunk entered the atmosphere about 5 miles west of New Haven, Michigan, and then traveled northwest at a relatively slow 28,000 miles per hour. Estimates say the rock likely measured three to six feet across, and could have weighed more than a ton. (Read our January sky guide.)
But what is a meteor? A meteorite? Those and other questions explained below.
Let's start with meteoroids. Meteoroids, along with asteroids and comets, are chunks of interplanetary matter