GCSE Physics - Asteroids and Comets
Ace your GCSE Physics exam
We learned about planets in the song The Solar System and the blog you can find here, so let’s now move to learning about asteroids and comets. These are important aspects of our solar system.
Asteroids are made up of rock and metal and are smaller than planets. They are mostly found in an ‘asteroid belt’ which orbits around the sun. Asteroids can crash into one another. If this happens then they can break apart into smaller pieces and its can also affect their orbit.
The orbits of some asteroids coincide with the earth’s orbit. This means that we can see asteroids at times and that throughout history, asteroids, it is said, have hit the earth’s surface. The severe cold caused by the millions of dust particles that this would throw up, is often thought to have caused the extinction of the dinosaurs.
Comets orbit around the sun and consist of ice and dust particles. Their orbits do not follow the same pattern as the orbit of the planets. They move in an elliptical orbit. The orbit of a comet takes it very close to the sun, and then very far away again. The time it takes for a comet to complete its orbit varies - just like for asteroids.
Now that you know the key facts about comets and asteroids, don’t forget to visit our song to make sure that all the information to pass your GCSE Physics exam is stuck in your head.
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