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Thread: Now THAT'S a meteorite

  1. #1
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    Everything I need to know I learned through Googling.

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    Zits has an astronomical theme today, too, if only peripherally.
    Everything I need to know I learned through Googling.

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    I make a similar joke in my general Bad Astronomy talks! I show the Peekskill meteorite video and then a picture of the car that was damaged by the rock, and wonder aloud how the meeting with the insurance guy went.

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    On 2002-05-03 12:17, The Bad Astronomer wrote:
    wonder aloud how the meeting with the insurance guy went.
    "Sorry, folks, I've read through your entire policy very carefully, and it doesn't say a word about meteorites." [img]/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif[/img]

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    <font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: ToSeek on 2002-05-03 13:13 ]</font>

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    "I'm sorry, but Section 3, paragraph 23c specifially excludes 'Acts of God'".

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    I think I remember reading somewhere that a meteorite collector bought the Peekskill meteor and damaged car for $20,000 which was far more than the car was worth when new.

    What do you call a meteor after it lands in the ocean and is sinking? It's not burning in the atmosphere so it shouldn't be called a meteor, but it's not quite a meteorite yet since it's still coming down.

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    On 2002-05-04 16:54, Chuck wrote:
    What do you call a meteor after it lands in the ocean and is sinking?
    A meteornaut.
    Everything I need to know I learned through Googling.

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    On 2002-05-04 16:54, Chuck wrote:
    "What do you call a meteor after it lands in the ocean and is sinking? It's not burning in the atmosphere so it shouldn't be called a meteor, but it's not quite a meteorite yet since it's still coming down."
    Other alternates:
    (While it's still sinking
    "Meteorong"
    "Splasheor"
    "Blub-blubeor"
    "Kaplunkeor"

    (Once it touches the ocean floor
    "Kaplunkerite"
    "Aquarite"
    "Soggiorite"
    "Davy Jones' Lockerite"
    [img]/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]


  9. #9
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    I'm sorry I asked.

  10. #10
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    For those interested parties . . .

    For Sale Peekskill Meteorite Car

    Enjoy

    Hauteden

  11. #11
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    On 2002-05-14 00:57, Hauteden wrote:
    For those interested parties . . .
    For Sale Peekskill Meteorite Car
    Enjoy
    Hauteden
    I see they gave it a nice wax job. Always helps for uping the price.
    Other selling points: boot (trunk) is well ventilated - for keeping groceries fresh on the way home from the market. That big rock in the trunk keeps the car on the road in snowy conditions too. [img]/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif[/img]

  12. #12
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    On 2002-05-04 16:54, Chuck wrote:
    What do you call a meteor after it lands in the ocean and is sinking? It's not burning in the atmosphere so it shouldn't be called a meteor, but it's not quite a meteorite yet since it's still coming down.
    Funny. But I'm still going to wade in on this one. [img]/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif[/img]

    It's true that the classic definition of meteorite includes having fallen to Earth (from the Ame.Her.Dic.: "A stony or metallic mass of matter that has fallen to the earth's surface from outer space"), but that tends to confuse things more than not.

    A meteor is a meteorological phenomenon, appropriately enough. It is the bright trail that we see in the sky as the atmosphere interacts with the meteoroid. Notice the suffix "-oid"--that's the same as in the terms planetoid and asteroid or even geoid. If we were to travel to an asteroid and pick up a sample, we could call it asterite. The suffix -ite is used with a lot of different minerals--for instance, graphite and leverite. The distinction isn't really that it has fallen to the Earth--it's that it is a small rocky part of the original. Up until fairly recently, the only hand samples we could obtain were ones that had fallen to the Earth, but astronauts would be justified in calling a "meteoroid" a chunk of space debris that they found "floating" past, and the stuff it is made from, "meteorite." Unfortunately, meteoroids in space are often called meteors, for short, so it gets even more confusing.

    So I would say a meteoroid is a body that would cause the bright trail known as a meteor, and it is made up of the rock known as meteorite, even when it is out in space. Just like Krypton was made of Kryptonite.

    <font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: GrapesOfWrath on 2002-05-14 07:41 ]</font>

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    On 2002-05-14 05:27, GrapesOfWrath wrote:
    So I would say a meteoroid is a body that would cause the bright trail known as a meteor, and it is made up of the rock known as meteorite, even when it is out in space. Just like Krypton was made of Kryptonite.
    Oh oh. My astronomy prof. would have to correct you. Every time I used the wrong word form he would correct me. It is not a meteorite until it hits the planet. It is a meteor when it is passing through the atmosphere. It is a meteoroid when it is in space. According to my text here, "Bodies in orbit around the Sun are called meteoroids if there is a chance that they may at some time land on Earth." "Meteorites are pieces of asteroids,... the Moon,... of Mars,...that fall to Earth from space." [Meteorites; Hutchison & Graham; 1993]

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    Well, what would you call such a geological sample picked up off the surface of the moon? Would it still be a meteoroid? The defintion of a meteoroid would seem that it would have to be moving through interplanetary space.

    <font size=-1>
    Definition of terms by the IAU Commission 22, 1961
    Meteors, Meteorites and Impacts
    Types of Meteorites
    Learn about Meteorites</font>

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    Grapes of Wrath
    nice links, thanks
    I never thought this much about rock names. Now I see I'll have to remember the moon rocks from the Apollo missions are rocks and not lunar meteorites.
    Sounds to me like the root of the word, meteor, is related to weather and/or atmosphere. That would likely mean planetary bodies without atmospheres had rock impacts rather than meteor impacts. Planetary bodies with atmospheres would have meteorite impacts. And, the definition including the requirement that the meteor in space had a chance of impacting Earth should be revised.

    I'll have to hunt through the web or my books and see if this misnomer has been overlooked, or, whether there is a different name for other planets' sky crashing objects.

    Well, maybe if there was more time.

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    On 2002-05-16 03:15, beskeptical wrote:
    And, the definition including the requirement that the meteor in space had a chance of impacting Earth should be revised.
    Apparently, that's what I am suggesting. The definitions are a little bit fuzzy. The BA even mentions it in his book (p.30), where a friend of his asked him what would you call a meteoroid that hit an airplane--but didn't make it to Earth. They resolved their discussion by deciding that they were just being silly, and they went outside to look at the skies.

    As you've noticed, the word meteor indicates an atmospheric phenomenon--it's the bright trail, but common usage also applies it to the rocky object itself while it is transitting the atmosphere. Also, it is sometimies used as a shorthand for meteoroid--which, according to the definition, is moving through interplanetary space.

    The suffix -oid indicates shape--ellipsoid, spheroid, geoid--but it also has been used astronomically in the words planetoid, asteroid, and of course meteoroid. The suffix -ite has been used by geologists to indicate rock, fossils, and/or products of processes. The word coprolite may spring to mind. So, I don't think it is much of a stretch to say that meteorite is just the rock that a meteoroid was or is made of. It's a fine distinction, but it makes it all simpler.

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    What's the definition of "has a chance to hit the earth"? Does it have to cross earth's orbit to qualify? How about if it doesn't now but its orbit might be altered in the future by another planet? Any piece of rock might hit the earth some day.

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    Chuck
    My interpretation is that the theoretical potential of possibly hitting the Earth is not relevant to names of objects in space. If you weren't talking about an object that had a relationship with Earth, it has another name. Eg: we have a meteor shower when the Earth intersects a 'dust trail of a comet' or we see a meteor when a 'piece of an asteroid or planetary body' strikes the Earth's atmosphere. The object is not a meteoroid without the Earth relationship. And, meteorites are bits of other things that get through the atmosphere without disentigrating completely. The objects would still have their other name. A moon rock can be just that if it was retreived by an astronaut on Apollo, or it could be a lunar rock and a lunar meteorite if it got here through another force.

    As far as hitting the plane, if it then hit Earth or came down with the plane, well, it hit the Earth. If it disentigrated after hitting the plane, well, it didn't hit the Earth and it's a moot point. [img]/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]

    I still want to know whether meteor/meteorite are specificly Earth terms and there are other names for objects that hit other celestial bodies, or, is it a generic term for incoming, or only incoming if an atmosphere is present? Have we discovered an unnamed phenomonon? Did the namer of meteorites not think about this issue? [img]/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_lol.gif[/img]

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    On 2002-05-17 00:03, beskeptical wrote:
    My interpretation is that the theoretical potential of possibly hitting the Earth is not relevant to names of objects in space.
    I'd say that's true. The definition of meteoroid at that link to the International Astronomical Union Commission 22 definitions says that a meteoroid is "a solid object moving in interplanetary space, of a size considerably smaller than an asteroid and considerably larger than an atom or molecule." That has nothing to do with Earth.

    I still want to know whether meteor/meteorite are specificly Earth terms and there are other names for objects that hit other celestial bodies, or, is it a generic term for incoming, or only incoming if an atmosphere is present? Have we discovered an unnamed phenomonon? Did the namer of meteorites not think about this issue?
    Apparently, there is not another name. Some of the rocks have been blasted from the surfaces of other planets, perhaps, but they are still called meteoroids, depending upon their size.

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    On 2002-05-17 05:30, GrapesOfWrath wrote:
    International Astronomical Union Commission 22 definitions says that a meteoroid is "a solid object moving in interplanetary space, of a size considerably smaller than an asteroid and considerably larger than an atom or molecule." That has nothing to do with Earth.
    Some of the rocks have been blasted from the surfaces of other planets, perhaps, but they are still called meteoroids, depending upon their size.
    It makes sense that meteroids would be generic whether they had the potential to hit Earth or any other object.

    But size? Hmmmmm. So, would the asteroid belt have asteroids and meteorites (assuming the objects are of various sizes)?

    It would be my interpretation, if I may be so humble as to say I can interpret reality better than anyone, [img]/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_lol.gif[/img] that the IAUC 22 definition is incomplete. The root of the word originated from the Greek word, meteron, describing atmospheric phenomena. While small objects in space may be meteoroids, (still not meteorites by the way), ALL small objects in space would not technically be meteoroids.

    Certainly the common use of the term means it wouldn't seem to be a big deal to call the objects meteoroids. But that name would not give you any information about the object except in relationship to it falling through the atmosphere. When is it a big meteoroid and when is it a small asteroid? When is it a lunar rock fragment and when is it a meteoroid?

    I'll bet Chuck is really sorry he asked now. [img]/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_razz.gif[/img]

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    Okay, I vote to eliminate the word "meteoroid" entirely. In space, it's an asteroid (wherever it may lurk) unless it's a planet or moon. In the sky, it's a meteor, and on the ground it's a meteorite. What to call it during its fall through the ocean, or aboard an airplane, I shall leave as an exercise for the reader....

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    On 2002-05-17 12:50, beskeptical wrote:
    Certainly the common use of the term means it wouldn't seem to be a big deal to call the objects meteoroids. But that name would not give you any information about the object except in relationship to it falling through the atmosphere.
    No. You're missing the obvious--the suffix -oid means (AHD) "resembling, having the appearance of, related to". Since we all seem to agree on what a meteor is (that's the bright trail in the sky, or by extension the object making the bright trail), a meteoroid is one of those interplanetary objects that resembles or is related to what we call meteors. Seems simple enough.

    The only hard part is what we apply the term meteorite to. I say, look at the suffix, -ite, which in this case just seems to mean rock, or mineral. As I said, then, meteoroids would be made of meteorite, just as Krypton was made of kryptonite. And graphs are made of graphite.

  23. #23
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    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz......

    Oh, wait. What I really wanted to know is what beskeptical's astronomy professor meant by "chance to hit the earth". That doesn't seem to be well defined.

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    On 2002-05-17 18:22, Chuck wrote:
    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz......
    Is that your snooze alarm going off?

    That doesn't seem to be well defined.
    Nor an official definition, of any sort.

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    I was right, Chuck is zzzzorry he asked.

    No no, my astronomy prof corrected every mis-use of the terms. It was the book I cited that said potentially Earth bound.

    It all makes sense to me. I think the definition is perfectly clear. But, I can't wait to ask Dr. Irving what to call an object that hits a planetary body with no atmosphere.

    Dr. Tony Irving, here at the U. of WA, is actually a geologist turned space geologist. He is a leading meteorite expert. About 15 years ago I took a volcanoes and glaciers class from him. Then, since I was in another field, I didn't see him for years. Then I became fascinated with meteorites, took another class and low and behold he had changed interests as well. Geology and astronomy departments overlap quite a bit these days.

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    On 2002-05-17 17:09, GrapesOfWrath wrote:
    1) You're missing the obvious--the suffix -oid means (AHD) "resembling, having the appearance of, related to". Since we all seem to agree on what a meteor is (that's the bright trail in the sky, or by extension the object making the bright trail), a meteoroid is one of those interplanetary objects that resembles or is related to what we call meteors.

    2)...meteoroids would be made of meteorite, just as Krypton was made of kryptonite. And graphs are made of graphite.
    1: Related to falling through the atmosphere, yes, but that doesn't mean all rocks in space look like meteors so they are all meteoroids.

    2: Meteoroids are what become meteorites. But Krypton is an element. A meteoroid is made of many different things. So, while a meteoroid becomes a meteorite, all rocks in space are not meteoroids by virtue of their size nor composition.

    A graph becomes graphite? Huh???

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    On 2002-05-19 06:34, beskeptical wrote:

    2: Meteoroids are what become meteorites. But Krypton is an element. A meteoroid is made of many different things. So, while a meteoroid becomes a meteorite, all rocks in space are not meteoroids by virtue of their size nor composition.
    Oh no... could it be you've never read Superman comics?

    A graph becomes graphite? Huh???
    Um... has anyone ever commented on your sense of humor? Were those comments something to the effect of, "Hey, you have no sense of humor!" ? [img]/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_lol.gif[/img]

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    Hear about the pie that fell to Earth?
    It was Meaty alright!

    My sense of humour is um.. [img]/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]

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    [quote]
    On 2002-05-19 06:34, beskeptical wrote:
    1: Related to falling through the atmosphere, yes, but that doesn't mean all rocks in space look like meteors so they are all meteoroids.
    I wouldn't go so far as to say "all"--that set of International Astronomical Union Commission 22 definitions seems pretty clear on that. Depending on size, we could call the rock an asteroid.

    A graph becomes graphite? Huh???
    No, no, no. I said, "graphs are made of graphite." At least, some of them are.

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    http://www.cnn.com/2002/TECH/space/0...tes/index.html

    This link is from Lisa re: new Mars meteorite. Tony Irving is mentioned as having studied and identified the new find.

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