Have you ever wondered why the moon looks like Swiss cheese, all covered with huge holes? These holes are called craters, and they are formed when a meteorite impacts a planet or moon. Meteorite is just a fancy name that scientists give to meteors that crash into something!
There are many impact craters on the Earth and the moon that scientists can look at to study meteorites. By studying the size and shape of the crater, these scientists are able to determine how big the meteorite that made it was! This is something that you can learn to do yourself!
A fun activity that simulates real-life meteorite impacts is to use a cardboard box filled with flour as your surface, and anything that is round as your meteorite. By forming a smooth surface on the flour and then dropping, tossing, or throwing your “meteor” into it, you can form some incredible craters! Try using objects of different sizes, such as a golf ball, an apple, or a marble as your meteorite and observe how the size and weight of the object affects the size and shape of the crater.
Don’t forget to record your data, though! Make a list of the meteors that you use and make sure to note the size and weight of the object, along with other information such as the direction it hit the surface, the diameter and depth of the crater, the shape of the crater, and anything else that you learn about each impact! By recording your observations and making conclusions based on them, you will be doing the same work that scientists do every day!
Take the next step:
- Check out these tips for observing the Perseid meteor shower.
- Getting excited about stargazing goes hand-in-hand with planning a campout – try these tips!
- Science Buddies Staff. (2014, October 3). Craters and Meteorites. Retrieved July 8, 2015.
- Science Buddies. (n.d.). Shooting Star Science: Craters and Meteorites. Retrieved July 9, 2015.
The U-M Student Astronomical Society educates students and the public about astronomy, bring together undergraduate astronomy majors, professors, and research opportunities, and further the interest of individuals who are not astronomy majors. One to two Fridays per month, SAS runs public observing nights at the Angell Hall Observatory. This event is free and open to the general public.
Camp Little Victors is the virtual summer camp program from C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. Each week, for six weeks, participants receive an email full of ideas and activities to help keep families busy, happy and healthy all summer long. Learn more and sign up.
University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital is consistently ranked one of the best hospitals in the country. It was nationally ranked in all ten pediatric specialties in U.S. News Media Group’s “America’s Best Children’s Hospitals,” and among the 10 best children’s hospitals in the nation by Parents Magazine. In December 2011, the hospital opened our new 12-story, state-of-the-art facility offering cutting-edge specialty services for newborns, children and women.