There are currently no tag wikis for and , but several questions have those tags.
Additionally, comets, meteorites, and meteoroids are related phenomena with their own definitions, but they aren't used as tags at all.

These are notorious for misuse - few people know and remember the definitions, so they are often used interchangeably when tagging.

Here are the definitions from NASA:

Asteroid: A relatively small, inactive, rocky body orbiting the Sun.

Comet: A relatively small, at times active, object whose ices can vaporize in sunlight forming an atmosphere (coma) of dust and gas and, sometimes, a tail of dust and/or gas.

Meteoroid: A small particle from a comet or asteroid orbiting the Sun.

Meteor: The light phenomena which results when a meteoroid enters the Earth's atmosphere and vaporizes; a shooting star.

Meteorite: A meteoroid that survives its passage through the Earth's atmosphere and lands upon the Earth's surface.

1. Which of the three untagged phenomena (comets, meteorites, and meteoroids) should get tags, if any? Do we want to be specific here or is this unnecessary detail?

2. Would it be better to define these phenomena on the tag descriptions so people tag correctly, or is this too picky and a tag would suffice that encompasses them all?

3. Should we standardize pluralization? Meteor is singular but asteroid"s" is not.

  • $\begingroup$ I could include planetoids (an old-fashioned synonym for asteroids) and planetismals. Though the latter are thought of as the fragments making up the formation of planets (the latter phrase wasn't elegant, but my brain isn't chugging along in elegant right now). $\endgroup$
    – a4android
    Jan 31, 2017 at 3:29
  • $\begingroup$ @a4android I agree that those are important but I feel like users often don't have those in mind when crashing debris into Earth; that may be a separate topic. $\endgroup$
    – Zxyrra
    Jan 31, 2017 at 3:30
  • $\begingroup$ If it's crashing objects into the Earth that's the subject of the tag, then wouldn't "impactors" be appropriate? Those terms are old-hat or too technical for most users here. So they're not likely to be in front of brain when slamming planet Earth. $\endgroup$
    – a4android
    Jan 31, 2017 at 4:36
  • $\begingroup$ Nearly forgot! Actually "space-rocks" would be a reasonable tag -- except they're not necessarily all rocks. Comets, for example, are mostly ice, dirty ice, but still ice. But not everyone will drill down that far. I'd be happy with 'space-rocks" as a tag. $\endgroup$
    – a4android
    Jan 31, 2017 at 4:39
  • $\begingroup$ @a4android That just comes to mind because questions tagged meteor and asteroid often, but not always, involve crashing them into stuff. I still think it's important to keep them separate to a degree. $\endgroup$
    – Zxyrra
    Jan 31, 2017 at 4:39

1 Answer 1


I think that for the purposes of tagging, meteors, meteoroids, and meteorites could be grouped together. Yes, they're different -- but tags are for categorization, not necessarily precise specification, and questions about these will have a lot in common. Possibly comets should be grouped with them too. Asteroids feel like the outliers in this group, tending to have (approximately) fixed orbits and tending to appear in groups (fields). I would expect questions about asteroids to have different considerations than questions about the other bodies in this list.

  • $\begingroup$ I agree... I would suggest using [meteor] with [comet] as a synonym. And note the breadth in the wiki description. $\endgroup$
    – SRM
    Feb 1, 2017 at 2:35

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