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Image that says Giant Impact.Animation of some planets revolving around the Sun and an asteriod crashing into one of the planets.

Can They Hit?
Most large objects in the Solar System, including the planets and their moons, move in circular orbits around the Sun. Their orbits are far apart and change very little from eon to eon, so they will never crash into each other.

However, there are lots of small objects in the Solar System called asteroids and comets that move in oval-shaped orbits that sometimes cross the circular orbits of the planets. Most of the time, the small objects cross a planet's orbit when the planet is somewhere else in its orbit, so no collision occurs. It is like crossing a railroad track when no train is present. But every now and then, an asteroid or comet crosses a planet's orbit exactly where the planet is, causing a huge crash!

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Giant Impacts
A Global Disaster!
Craters on the Moon and Planets
Craters on Earth
Image of a star. Can They Hit?
Asteroids
Comets

 

 
             
     
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Giant Impacts | A Global Disaster! | Craters on the Moon and Planets | Craters on Earth | Can They Hit? | Asteroids | Comets

Giant Impact | Super Nova | Disease | Volcanoes | Orbital Changes | Meet the Dinosaurs | Into the Future

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Site maintained by the ETE Team
Last updated on
April 28, 2005

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