What Are Asteroids?

Asteroids are small rocky objects that orbit the Sun. Asteroids are NOT planets. Asteroids come in all shapes and sizes and have irregular shapes. Asteroids can be made up of metal, rock, space dust, or even Carbon! Asteroids can be the size of a pebble, to the size of 5 football fields! Asteroids mostly orbit around the Sun in the asteroid belt. The asteroid belt is a ring of asteroids separating Mars and Jupiter. Asteroids form in 2 ways. One way asteroids form is when unused material clumps together. When the Sun and planets formed billions of years ago, there was a lot of material that was floating around, even after the formation of planets. Those scraps began to orbit the Sun, and that is what the asteroid belt is today! The second way asteroids form is when another asteroid knocks off a piece of an existing planet. This sends and chunk of material into space, which orbits the Sun as an asteroid. This is what asteroids are!