What's the Difference Between a Meteor and an Asteroid

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Size and Location

Asteroids are larger rocky bodies in space, often found in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. In contrast, a meteor is a much smaller particle or fragment that originates from an asteroid or comet.


Asteroids are composed of metals and rocky materials, resembling small planets. Meteors, on the other hand, are typically composed of dust, rock, or metal and burn up upon entering Earth's atmosphere.

Location in the Sky

Asteroids are observed in space, orbiting the Sun or sometimes coming close to Earth. Meteors become visible when they enter Earth's atmosphere and burn up, creating streaks of light in the night sky, commonly known as shooting stars

Entry into Earth's Atmosphere

An asteroid entering Earth's atmosphere is called a meteoroid. Once it begins to burn up due to friction with the atmosphere, it is referred to as a meteor.

Impact and Size

While asteroids can be large enough to cause significant impact events, meteors are generally much smaller and pose minimal threat