Asteroids are rocky objects that orbit the Sun, much like planets do, but they’re much smaller. These space rocks come in various sizes, from tiny pebbles to bodies hundreds of miles wide.


Asteroids are often called “minor planets” or “planetoids” because they’re like mini versions of planets. Most asteroids in our solar system are found in the Asteroid Belt, a region between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. However, some asteroids travel on paths that bring them closer to Earth.

While asteroids might seem far removed from dinosaurs, they play a crucial role in the story of these prehistoric creatures. Many scientists believe that a massive asteroid impact was responsible for the extinction of non-avian dinosaurs about 66 million years ago.


Picture a gigantic rock hurtling through space. Now, shrink that rock down to the size of a car, or a house, or even a small city. That’s an asteroid! They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, but they’re all zooming around our solar system.

Fun Fact

Did you know that some asteroids have moons? That’s right – even these small space rocks can have their own tiny satellites orbiting around them. The asteroid Ida, for instance, has a small moon called Dactyl!

People Also Ask

  • How big was the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs?
  • Are asteroids and meteors the same thing?
  • Can we see asteroids from Earth?

How big was the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs? Scientists estimate that the asteroid which contributed to the extinction of the dinosaurs was about 6-9 miles (10-15 kilometers) wide. That’s about the size of a small city! When it hit Earth, it created a crater about 110 miles (180 kilometers) wide.

Are asteroids and meteors the same thing? Not exactly. Asteroids are rocks in space. When a small piece of an asteroid or other space rock enters Earth’s atmosphere and burns up, we call it a meteor (or a “shooting star”). If it survives the trip through the atmosphere and lands on Earth, we call it a meteorite.

Can we see asteroids from Earth? Most asteroids are too small and far away to see with the naked eye. However, some of the larger ones can be seen with a good telescope. Occasionally, an asteroid will pass close enough to Earth that we can see it without a telescope, but this is rare and the asteroid still remains very far away and safe.