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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Meteoroid \Me"te*or*oid\ (m[=e]"t[-e]*[~e]r*oid), n. [Meteor + -oid.] (Astron.) A small body moving through space, or revolving about the sun, which on entering the earth's atmosphere would be deflagrated and appear as a meteor.

These bodies [small, solid bodies] before they come into the air, I call meteoroids.
--H. A. Newton.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

"rock floating in space, which becomes a meteor when it enters Earth's atmosphere," formed in English, 1865, from meteor + -oid.


n. (context astronomy English) A relatively small (sand- to boulder-sized) fragment of debris in a solar system that produces a meteor when it hits the atmosphere


n. (astronomy) any of the small solid extraterrestrial bodies that hits the earth's atmosphere [syn: meteor]


A meteoroid (/ˈmiː.t̬i.ə.rɔɪd/) is a small rocky or metallic body travelling through outer space. Meteoroids are significantly smaller than asteroids, and range in size from small grains to 1 meter-wide objects. Objects smaller than this are classified as micrometeoroids or space dust. Most are fragments from comets or asteroids, whereas others are collision impact debris ejected from bodies such as the Moon or Mars.

When a comet, asteroid, or meteoroid enters the Earth's atmosphere at a speed typically in excess of , aerodynamic heating of that object produces a streak of light, both from the glowing object and the trail of glowing particles that it leaves in its wake. This phenomenon is called a meteor or "shooting star". A series of many meteors appearing seconds or minutes apart and appearing to originate from the same fixed point in the sky is called a meteor shower. If that object withstands ablation from its passage through the atmosphere as a meteor and impacts with the ground, it is then called a meteorite.

Around 15,000 tonnes of meteoroids, micrometeoroids and different forms of space dust enter Earth's atmosphere each year.

Usage examples of "meteoroid".

The answer depended on so many factors that three generations of statisticians and their computers had done little but lay down rules so vague that the insurance companies still shivered with apprehension when the great meteoroid swarms went sweeping like gales through the orbits of the inner worlds.

Had that momentary lapse after the meteoroid struck been typical of the man?

Less likely, even, than that a meteoroid would strike a ship in the first place.

It acted as a retro-rocket when the meteoroid rotated it in front of the orbital path, and then turned direction and tried to slow the rotation as the meteoroid moved it around behind.

Slowly, the rotation of the meteoroid was being stopped, and the retrofire lasted longer.

Such had been the case in August 1972 when a large meteoroid passed through the atmosphere over the western United States and Canada.

For instance, a meteoroid impact may possibly have scrambled some rocks, or added some useful ore.

The others were thought lost during the meteoroid shower that occurred shortly after take off.

Though sworn not to interfere with their development, I did divert a meteoroid impact that would have altered local coastlines.

Something, a large meteoroid or something, finally punched through at one point, and there the radiation escapes unchecked.

Gathered from a meteoroid cluster crossing the solar system from the direction of the constellation Taurus.

It was unlikely that this was a very remarkable meteoroid, though its cross-section had a curious, all-around layering, rather like the annual rings of a tree branch.

But that meteoroid is not just millions but almost a billion years old.

They were no more than shaped steel rods, dead rounds carrying no explosives, but they impacted with the momentum of meteoroids, of flying bulldozers.

The efforts of the statisticians had resulted in tables showing approximate collision probabilities at various radiuses from the sun for meteoroids down to masses of a few milligrams.