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In technical terms, an asteroid is any sun-orbiting natural body that is neither large enough to be a full-size planet (showing a disc in a low-powered telescope) nor outgassing like a comet nor small enough to be a meteoroid, although the exact size difference between an asteroid and a meteroid does not seem to be well-defined. Asteroids are classed as "minor planets".

In terms of practical impact to Earth-dwellers, an asteroid is anything large enough to be a serious threat if it were to strike the Earth's surface.