What the difference between a Meteor and a Meteorite?

A meteor is a shooting star, the flash of light you see when a piece of space debris burns up as it falls through Earth’s atmosphere.  The actual piece of debris, which can be made of rock or metal, is called a meteoroid.

Usually the meteoroid completely burns up before it reaches the Earth’s surface.  But a meteoroid that makes it all the way to Earth is called a meteorite.

A meteorite can be the size of a pebble and weigh a few grams, or it might be much larger, forming a great crater as it smashes into the Earth. The biggest meteorite ever found fell in Namibia. It was the size of a truck and weighed 60 tonnes.

In 1954 in Alabama, a young woman was hit by a grapefruit sized meteorite as she sat in her living room, only bruising her.

The most recent case was a young boy in Uganda, when he was hit by a meteorite fragment only a few grams in weight, thankfully he wasn’t hurt either.