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A meteoroid is a relatively small (sand- to boulder-sized) fragment of debris in the Solar System. When entering the Earth's atmosphere, the light phenomenon created by the ram pressure against the air (Despite the commonly held belief, friction is not at work here) and the resulting ionization of air particles is called a meteor, or shooting star. If any portion of the meteor survives to reach the ground, it is then referred to as a meteorite.

See also: Bolide

Last updated: 02-26-2005 13:00:46