A 52-foot-wide space rock named 2012 TC4 will come within 60,000 miles from Earth on its closest approach on October 12, 2012. This imagery taken by The Virtual Telescope Project in Italy captured it at nearly 500,000 miles away on October 10th.
A comet is a relatively small solar system body that orbits the Sun. When close enough to the Sun they display a visible coma (a fuzzy outline or atmosphere due to solar radiation) and sometimes a tail.
Asteroids are small solar system bodies that orbit the Sun. Made of rock and metal, they can also contain organic compounds. Asteroids are similar to comets but do not have a visible coma (fuzzy outline and tail) like comets do.
A meteoroid is a small rock or particle of debris in our solar system. They range in size from dust to around 10 metres in diameter (larger objects are usually referred to as asteroids).
A meteoroid that burns up as it passes through the Earth’s atmosphere is known as a meteor. If you’ve ever looked up at the sky at night and seen a streak of light or ‘shooting star’ what you are actually seeing is a meteor.
A meteoroid that survives falling through the Earth’s atmosphere and colliding with the Earth’s surface is known as a meteorite.
The source of loud “booms” accompanied by a bright object traveling through the skies of Nevada and California on Sunday morning has been confirmed: it was a meteor. A big one.
ALSO IF EARTH HAS AN ASTEROID-TRACKING SYSTEM THEN IT REALLY REALLY SUCKS.