I had no clue what the difference between meteoroids, meteors, and meteorites was. Since I'm gearing up to watch the Perseids meteor shower tonight, I figured it would be a good time to sort it out.
The difference between the three objects is actually just where they are.
- Meteoroids are in the solar system, far from Earth
- Meteors are falling down to Earth (filling the sky with streaks as they break up in the atmosphere)
- Meteorites have landed on Earth
In the end, they always start out as stony or metallic debris in the sky. Luckily for us (as long as they aren't too big!), we get to see the beauty they create when they break up in the sky.