Meteor, asteroid and comet: What’s the difference? | BBC Science Focus Magazine - Deepstash

Keep reading for FREE



Asteroids are small, rocky objects that orbit the Sun. Most are irregularly shaped, although some are nearly spherical.

There are over a million known asteroids, and most can be found in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.


30 reads



Comets are large, icy bodies of frozen gases, dust, and rock, with a frozen nucleus. They orbit the Sun on highly elliptical paths. The distinctive tail is caused by the Sun tuning the ice into gas when they orbit close to the Sun.

Comets consist of four broad categories:

  • Non-periodic comets: comets that have only passed through the Solar System once
  • Short-period comets: comets with an orbit of fewer than 200 years
  • Long-period comets: comets with an orbit of more than 200 years
  • Lost comets: comets that have 'disappeared' and were not seen at their most recent perihelion (closest point to the Sun)


12 reads

Meteor shower

Meteor shower

As comets or asteroids travel around the Sun, they leave behind a trail of debris in their wake.

When Earth's orbit intersects with this debris, thousands of bright trails appear to radiate from one point in the night sky.


17 reads


Meteoroids are space rocks. They are fragments and debris from asteroids and comets.

These particles continue orbiting the Sun in approximately the same orbit as the parent body from which they came. Over time, they get further away from the parent as the orbit becomes littered with these particles.

When a meteoroid enters the Earth's atmosphere and burns up, it leaves a glowing trail in the sky and is known as a meteor - or, more popularly, a shooting star.


11 reads


A firebal is when a meteor entering the atmosphere exceeds Venus in terms of brightness.

A large fireball will be visible for 5-10 seconds, and if you see a fireball that looks like it was close, be sure to listen out for a rumbling, or 'detonation' type sound. However, a fireball that lasts for more than 10 seconds is likely a satellite or some form of aircraft falling back to Earth.


11 reads



Meteorites are meteoroids that survive the journey to Earth's surface. Meteorites fall every day. However, finding one is incredibly rare.

There are four broad types of meteorites:

  • Iron meteorite: those which are almost entirely made of metal
  • Stony meteorite: those which are almost entirely made of silicate crystals
  • Stony-iron meteorite: those which have similar amounts of both metal and silicate crystals


9 reads

Dwarf Planet

Dwarf Planet

Each of the known dwarf planets in the Solar System is smaller than our Moon. There are five recognised dwarf planets in our Solar System: Pluto, Ceres, Makemake, Haumea and Eris.

Unlike planets, dwarf planets are unable to clear their orbital path.


13 reads



Mental health is health. Meditation nerd.

Ready for the next level?

Read Like a Pro


Explore the World’s

Best Ideas

200,000+ ideas on pretty much any topic. Created by the smartest people around & well-organized so you can explore at will.

An Idea for Everything

Explore the biggest library of insights. And we've infused it with powerful filtering tools so you can easily find what you need.

Knowledge Library

Powerful Saving & Organizational Tools

Save ideas for later reading, for personalized stashes, or for remembering it later.

# Personal Growth

Take Your Ideas


Organize your ideas & listen on the go. And with Pro, there are no limits.

Listen on the go

Just press play and we take care of the words.

Never worry about spotty connections

No Internet access? No problem. Within the mobile app, all your ideas are available, even when offline.

Get Organized with Stashes

Ideas for your next work project? Quotes that inspire you? Put them in the right place so you never lose them.


2 Million Stashers



5,740 Reviews

App Store



72,690 Reviews

Google Play

Shankul Varada

Best app ever! You heard it right. This app has helped me get back on my quest to get things done while equipping myself with knowledge everyday.


Don’t look further if you love learning new things. A refreshing concept that provides quick ideas for busy thought leaders.

Sean Green

Great interesting short snippets of informative articles. Highly recommended to anyone who loves information and lacks patience.

Ashley Anthony

This app is LOADED with RELEVANT, HELPFUL, AND EDUCATIONAL material. It is creatively intellectual, yet minimal enough to not overstimulate and create a learning block. I am exceptionally impressed with this app!

Jamyson Haug

Great for quick bits of information and interesting ideas around whatever topics you are interested in. Visually, it looks great as well.

Laetitia Berton

I have only been using it for a few days now, but I have found answers to questions I had never consciously formulated, or to problems I face everyday at work or at home. I wish I had found this earlier, highly recommended!

Giovanna Scalzone

Brilliant. It feels fresh and encouraging. So many interesting pieces of information that are just enough to absorb and apply. So happy I found this.

Ghazala Begum

Even five minutes a day will improve your thinking. I've come across new ideas and learnt to improve existing ways to become more motivated, confident and happier.

Read & Learn

20x Faster





Access to 200,000+ ideas

Access to the mobile app

Unlimited idea saving & library

Unlimited history

Unlimited listening to ideas

Downloading & offline access

Personalized recommendations


Claim Your Limited Offer

Get Deepstash Pro


75% OFF | 1-Year Pro Subscription

Claim Offer