Does the Earth attract a lot of meteor strikes?

26 March 2006

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Question

We know that meteorites hit the Earth quite well. The sun is hundreds of thousands times bigger than the Earth, and so consequently I would imagine that it would attract many more meteorites. Is this the case?

Answer

Well that's actually a really good question but there are a few effects that you need to take into account here. The Earth and meteorites are going around the sun and in different directions and at different speeds. Every now and again, you get a crossing of paths and one hits the other so we get a meteorite landing on the Earth. It's this crossing of paths that is more important than the gravity of the Earth itself. There have been a few near misses that nobody knew about until someone took a photo of the night sky and saw a meteorite. There are millions of little meteorites that hit the Earth all the time.

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