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Asteroids, sometimes called planetoids or minor planets, are chunks of rock of different sizes which orbit the Sun. More than 200 000 are known, whereas only a few are larger than 100 kilometers.

Many asteroids are part of the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Likewise numerous they are in the Kuiper belt. Near the planet's orbits they are rather scarce.

Meteorites are fragments of asteroids. Not until they reach the atmosphere of Earth and glow out there they are called meteors.

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    Asteroid Belt
The asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
Graphic: Esa

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