Comets, Meteors and Asteroids - Overview

Pan-Canadian Learning Outcomes

It is expected that students will...

Science, Technology, Society and Environment (STSE)

Nature of science and technology

Demonstrate the importance of using the languages of science and technology to compare and communicate ideas, processes, and results (e.g., use appropriate terminology such as "constellations," "planets," "moons," "comets," "asteroids," and "meteors" to describe objects in space)


Describe the physical characteristics of components of the solar system - specifically, the sun, planets, moons, comets, asteroids, and meteors

Module Topics

1. Introduction

  • Solar System has millions of smaller objects

2. Comets

  • Appear as fuzzy patches
  • Move across the sky very slowly
  • Originated during the formation of the solar system
  • Mix of rocks and ice
  • Solar wind and radiation pressure create the two tails
  • Short and long periods

3. Asteroids

  • Reflect sunlight
  • 4000 catalogued asteroids
  • Most contained in the asteroid belt
    • Between Mars' and Jupiter's orbits
  • Rocky objects
    • Carbon and Silicate
  • Largest is half the size of Pluto

4. Meteroids

  • Much like asteroids only smaller
  • Three categories
    • stones, irons and stony irons
  • Meteroids that enter Earth's atmosphere called Meteors
  • Meteors
    • Shooting stars
    • Size of a grain of sand
    • Occur randomly
    • Meteor showers
    • Naming meteor showers
  • Fireballs
  • Meteorites

5. Summary