Meteor fireball, illustration

Meteor fireball, illustration

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Credit: DETLEV VAN RAVENSWAAY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Meteor fireball. Illustration of a fireball that has formed as a large meteoroid (originally a small asteroid) heats up as it passes through Earth's atmosphere. The meteoroid may explode in the air (an airburst), or it may survive to impact the ground as a meteorite. The effect of a large meteorite impact or meteor airburst over a city would be catastrophic, with extensive damage and loss of life. Asteroids that are 30 to 40 metres across are large enough to wipe out a city. Around a million such asteroids exist, though unlike the larger asteroids that could cause global destruction, only a small number of these 'city killers' are being tracked.

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Keywords: 1, artwork, asteroid, astronomical, astronomy, atmosphere, atmospheric, bolide, burn, burning, city killer, disintegrate, disintegrating, disintegration, fireball, geophysics, illustration, impact, impacting, impactor, meteor, meteorite, meteoritic, meteoroid, no-one, nobody, one, planetary science, single, space, space weather

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