Where Do Meteors Come From?

meteors-come Credit: Science Photo Library - ROGER HARRIS/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

According to the Center for Meteorite Studies at the Arizona State University, meteorites are believed to come from the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Hubblesite defines a meteorite as a meteor or a piece of meteor that makes it through the atmosphere and lands on earth.

According to Hubblesite, a meteor appears as a flash of light in the night sky when a piece of interplanetary debris burns up as it passes through the atmosphere. A meteor is not the debris itself but rather the light that people might see when the debris burns up. The debris is called a meteoroid.

Most meteoroids (or meteorites when they land on earth) are thought to be approximately 4.5 billion years old. This is one way to tell that the meteorites come from the solar system because no Earth rocks are this old, according to the Center for Meteorite Studies at ASU.

About 3,500 meteorites are believed to make it to the surface of Earth each year. However, only a small number of meteorites are recovered after a fall. A “fall” is defined as a meteorite that was observed falling and then later collected. A “find” is a meteorite that was not observed falling but was collected and identified as a meteorite after careful examination.