Asteroids, Comets and Meteors

Overview

When one science fiction author called the asteroids "ten thousand fleas on the dead dog of night," he was only reflecting the disregard astronomers once had for these mysterious objects-most of which were considered little more than nuisances. Today, astronomers have a whole new respect for asteroids, comets, and meteors. The collision of an asteroid with Earth may have spelled the end of the dinosaurs-and a future collision may end life as we know it on our planet. Likewise, the icy mounds called comets are not...
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Overview

When one science fiction author called the asteroids "ten thousand fleas on the dead dog of night," he was only reflecting the disregard astronomers once had for these mysterious objects-most of which were considered little more than nuisances. Today, astronomers have a whole new respect for asteroids, comets, and meteors. The collision of an asteroid with Earth may have spelled the end of the dinosaurs-and a future collision may end life as we know it on our planet. Likewise, the icy mounds called comets are not just rare, graceful apparitions in the night sky, they are among the most interesting objects in the solar system, perhaps holding clues to the origin of the solar system itself. This book explores these little-known but fascinating denizens of outer space.

Chronicles the formation of the solar system, particularly how asteroids, comets, and meteors were formed, and relates how astronomers learn about the existence and characteristics of these bodies.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
After a house is built, there are leftovers. The same thing happens when a solar system is being formed. The sun and planets formed from an enormous cloud of dust and gas. It rapidly contracted and began spinning. Particles of dust began colliding and sticking together. Some of those masses became planets. Other smaller objects would crash into one another and smash into pieces. The space between Mars and Jupiter is filled with these rocky, metallic planetesimals. This area is known as the asteroid belt and there are hundred of thousands of asteroids there. In the space beyond Pluto billions of icy objects are also left over from the original primordial cloud. In the early 19th century as astronomers searched for new planets they first discovered asteroids large enough to be initially mistaken for planets. Comets are enormous snowballs composed of ice and dirt that travel in elongated elliptical orbits around the Sun. As the comet approaches the sun it warms up and a tail forms. The tail always points away from the sun and is pushed by solar wind. It does not indicate the direction of motion. A meteor is the streak of light that a meteoroid (a stone that originates in space) makes when it enters the Earth's atmosphere. A meteorite is what this same object is called when it lands on earth. This well-illustrated publication is easy to read and comprehend. This book is part of the "Worlds Beyond" series. 2006, Twenty-First Century Books, Ages 8 to 12.
—Kristin Harris
VOYA
The exceptional Worlds Beyond books on astronomy take the reader far beyond the simpler intermediate series that are popular with younger readers. Each book includes a brief history of scientific research on the subject and then brings the reader up to speed on the latest in scientific discoveries and theories. The books also contain well-designed sidebars that present simple experiments, quick facts, and biographical sketches that help round out the information in the text. Asteroids, Comets, and Meteors gives the reader an overview of how these celestial bodies were created from the leftover debris following the birth of the solar system. The section on asteroids features amazing photographs of an asteroid named Eros provided by the spacecraft that actually touched down on the asteroid's surface. Chock full of stunning photographs and illustrations, this series presents information that will challenge the middle or high school reader who is ready for a "meatier" series about space. Written clearly and concisely, these slender volumes fill an important gap for public libraries needing series astronomy books for the older reader. The books are a valuable resource for students who need information for reports or who may be budding astronomy enthusiasts. (Worlds Beyond). VOYA CODES: 5Q 2P M J S (Hard to imagine it being any better written; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2005, Twenty-First Century Books/Lerner, 80p.; Glossary. Index. Illus. Photos. Maps. Charts. Further Reading. Chronology., PLB . Ages 11 to 18.
—Jan Chapman
School Library Journal
Gr 5-9-Like their predecessors, these entries in this valuable series combine clear, extended expositions with a vivid mix of colorful space photos, well-designed diagrams, and dramatic paintings of alien shores and skies. Asteroids begins with the Solar System's formation; goes on to describe how "Bode's Rule," a mathematical oddity involving the relative positions of some (but not all) of the planets, led to the discovery of the asteroid belt; and then takes readers through meteor showers and to "the tortured surface of a typical comet." Mars updates older titles with discussions of recent developments in the search for water and life on that dusty planet. Along with presenting pictures of the life cycles of both stars and the universe as a whole, Stars deals in unusual detail with galactic types and structures, capturing a sense of their immense scale with phrases like "only about 45,000 light years-." All three volumes end with speculative comments on future exploration or evolution, plus extensive lists of Web sites and recent books. Solid additions for serious students of "worlds beyond."-John Peters, New York Public Library Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761323631
  • Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/13/2004
  • Series: Worlds Beyond Series
  • Pages: 80
  • Product dimensions: 11.20 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Building a Solar System 5
Chapter 2 Miniature Worlds 9
Chapter 3 The Asteroid Belt 16
Chapter 4 Exploring Asteroids 24
Chapter 5 Discovering Comets 35
Chapter 6 Tracking Meteors 56
Glossary 73
For More Information 75
Index 77
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