A meteorite is a solid piece of debris from an object, such as a comet, asteroid, or meteoroid, that originates in outer space and survives its passage through the atmosphere to reach the surface of a planet. When the object enters the atmosphere, various factors such as friction, pressure, and chemical interactions with the atmospheric gases cause it to heat up and radiate energy. It then becomes a meteor and forms a fireball, also known as a shooting star or falling star; astronomers call the brightest examples “Bolides”.
It has been demonstrated that over 300 tonnes of meteorites land on the Earth every single day, though most of these never reach the attention of meteorologists. Those that do are carefully examined to establish their broad classification. Any that ‘show promise’ are scrutinised more carefully to ascertain their lithology, age, degree of weathering etc.
Ultimately, the testing laboratory (The Natural History Museum in the UK) will assign a name and publish a description. The name generally refers to the region or nearest town to the location of the fall or find.
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