A member of the solar system which usually moves in an elongated orbit, approaching very near to the sun in its perihelion, and receding to a very great distance from it at its aphelion. A comet commonly consists of three parts: the nucleus, the envelope, or coma, and the tail; but one or more of these parts is frequently wanting. See Illustration in Appendix.
A bright star-like heavenly body, composed of masses of tiny particles and gases, which follows an eccentric orbit of the Sun that for some comets can take thousands of years to complete. Most comets form luminous "tails", bits of meteroic material and gases that stream off into space, when they near the Sun.
a piece of ice wandering through space commonly called a "dirty snowball"
A big ball of dirty ice and snow in outer space.
A large ball of colored composition is fired directly from the mortar. The effect is a straight, brightly colored column of sparks. Also known as stickless rocket. Example
Huge dirty snowballs that orbit the Sun. For more about comets, check out this excellent Comet's tale page.
A chunk of ice with some small, solid particles mixed in. When the comet comes close to the sun, the ice evaporates and glows. Comets travel in very long, oval orbits around the sun.
A small celestial body composed at least partially of ices. Comets either orbit the Sun or pass through the Solar System on hyperbolic orbital paths .
A small body of icy and dusty matter that revolves about the Sun. When a comet comes near the Sun, some of its material vaporizes, forming a large head of tenuous gas, and often a tail.
a body which orbits the sun and is primarily composed of frozen water, ammonia, methane, carbon dioxide and many pieces of rock and dust. Their distinct tail occurs when they approach the sun from their suspected origin in the outer edges of our Solar System.
solar system object in orbit around the Sun that is composed of ice, rock, and other chemicals. They are often described as a "snowball" in space.
body of ice and dust in orbit around the sun that develops a tail of ions and dust as it approaches the sun.
A small body, of mostly ice and dust, in orbit around the Sun or passing through the solar system in large orbits. While passing near the Sun, the comet's vaporized ice becomes its two tails, a bright white one composed of dust, and a blue one made up of ion ized gas. More about comets...
Chunks of rock and ice that orbit the Sun. Most comets reside in a sphere surrounding our solar system almost a light year away from the sun called the Oort cloud, though some get gravitationally "bumped" into closer orbits, bringing them close enough for us to see them as fuzzy objects with an extended tail. (See also the text in comets.)
An interplanetary body, composed of loosely bound rocky and icy material, that forms a glowing head (coma) and extended tail when it enters the inner solar system.
A comet is made up of ice and dust surrounded by a cloud of gas and dust. The tail of the comet appears when it is near the sun. The most famous comet is Halleys Comet.
A small body of ice and dust in orbit around the Sun. While passing near the sun, a comet's vaporized ice become its "tail"
An object moving about the sun in an eccentric orbit and composed of materials which, on warming up near the sun, form a "tail" which always points away from the sun. Comets can be compared to dirty snowballs.
small celestial object orbiting the Sun that develops diffuse gaseous envelopes and often long luminous tales when near the Sun
A diffuse body of gas and solid particles that orbit the Sun in a highly eccentric trajectory.
A small celestial body, fragile, irregularly shaped made of grains and frozen gases traveling through space. Referenced in: StarDust Why Comet Wild-2? Your Meteor Your Meteor
Small bodies of rock, iron and frozen water and gases that orbit the sun in elliptical orbits. As they get close to the sun the gas vaporizes leaving a tail of dust and debris.
A conglomeration of frozen gases (methane, ammonia, carbon dioxide) and "earthy" materials which travels around the Sun. The orbit varies in ecccentricity between an ellipse and a parabola, with known periods from three to thousands of years. Near the Sun, the comet's materials are activitated and produce a coma of gases and dust which may develop a tail extending, in some cases, millions of miles.
A solar system object. A comet is a loose compaction of ice and dust which orbits the Sun. Comets are usually found either in the Kuiper belt (around the orbit of Pluto) or the Oort cloud (the outer edges of the solar system, up to 1000 times as far as Pluto from the sun).
A object orbiting the sun that when it gets close to the sun shows a coma and may show a tail.
small interplanetary body consisting of ices and dust that is in orbit around the Sun. As it nears the Sun, its surface material vaporizes to form a large head, or coma, at whose center lies a bright nucleus where its mass is concentrated.
A volatile-rich body that develops a transient atmosphere as it orbits the Sun. The orbit is usually highly elliptical or even parabolic (average perihelion distance less than 1 AU; average aphelion distance, roughly 104 AU). When a comet comes near the Sun, some of its material vaporizes, forming a large head of tenuous gas, and often a tail formed by the solar wind.
A giant snowball of ice and dust that revolves around the Sun. When it gets near the Sun, ice melts and looks like a tail. Haley's comet is probably the most famous comet.
A celestial body, having a head consisting of a solid nucleus surrounded by a nebulous coma and an elongated curved vapor tail arising from the coma when it gets sufficiently close to the sun. Comets are thought to consist mostly of ammonia, methane, carbon dioxide, and water.
a ball of dirty ice that orbits the Sun
a ball of frozen water and gases mixed with rock
a ball of ice, gas and rocky dirt
a body that orbits around the Sun with an eccentric orbit
a celestial aggregation that moves in a circular pattern around the sun
a celestial body, like a small planet that moves around the sun
a celestial body that revolves around the sun
a celestial body , usually found orbiting a star , typically characterized by a solid nucleus of rock and frozen water and surrounded by a nebulous coma
a gaseous, icy body that orbits the sun, and it becomes visible when during its approach to the sun, radiation pressure produces a luminous tail, which disappears after it loops around the sun and continues its orbit into deep space
a gigantic ball of dirt and ice
a great place to visit because it is suspected that they were formed at about the same time as the Solar System
a large icy object which originates from the distant parts of our solar system
a large lump of frozen gas mixed with bits of dust
a little like an asteroid, typically in very long, elliptical orbits around
an astronomical object with a long tail and is composed of ice and dust and has a long luminous tail when its orbit passes close to the sun
a natural heavenly body made up of dust and gases that moves in an orbit around the sun
a negatively charged object moving through the extensive and constant radial electric field of the positively charged Sun (see below)
an icy mud ball
an object made mostly of ice but with dust, rock, and/or metal mixed with the ice
an object which has a very large orbit about the Sun, an orbit of many years duration
a object which is made up of things water, dirt, frozen gases like methan
a part of our own solar system that consists of rock and ice, and has a very eliptical orbit around the sun, which is why they make periodic appearances
a planetesimal in orbit around the sun
a relatively small astronomical object similar to an asteroid but composed largely of ice
a small astronomical object consisting mostly of frozen gases, water and dust
a small body in the solar system that is rich in ices
a small body orbiting our Sun, usually at great distance from Earth and with a highly elliptical orbit
a small body orbiting the sun on an elliptical path with a long tail of dust and ice
a small chuck of frozen particles that follow an elliptical orbit around the sun
a small, fragile, irregularly shaped body composed mostly of a mixture of water ice, dust, and carbon- and silicon-based compounds
a small, icy celestial body
a small member of the solar system which travels around the sun in a highly eccentric orbit
a stellar satellite which is similar to an asteroid except that it has a very elliptical orbit around its star which brings the satellite both very close to the star and into deep space beyond the orbits of the star's planets
An object in space made out of ice, dust, and other materials.
comets are similar to asteroids but contain much more ice in them. When they pass the orbit of Jupiter and approach the sun, the ice sublimates and creates a ball of gas around the comet. The solar wind then blows the gas away from the comet, creating the part of a comet most known by people, its tail
A rocky and icy body in orbit around the sun. These objects contain volatile material (such as hydrogen) which meteorites lack.
Small bodies orbiting bodies composed predominantly of dust and ice
A large cylindrical pumped star that leaves a sparked tail.
Objects several kilometres in diameter, composed of a mixture of dust, ice and frozen gases. Comets have either a parabolic orbit (i.e. coming close to the Sun only once) or an elliptical orbit. When a comet comes close to the Sun, the Sun's radiation striking the comet creates a 'tail' of displaced matter gas or dust. The best known comet is Comet Halley, which orbits the Sun once every 76 years.
Icy objects orbiting the Sun that produce long glowing tails when they approach the Sun. The Earth and beyond
a body in space that has a tail and follows an orbit around the sun.
an object made of dust and frozen gases that orbits the Sun.
Comets orbit the sun, following very non-circular paths. They are made of rock and ice. The Solar System
A celestial body that consists of a fuzzy head usually surrounding a bright nucleus, that has a usually highly eccentric orbit, and that often, when in the part of its orbit near the sun, develops a long tail which points away from the sun.
a body of ice and dust a few kilometers in diameter in orbit around the Sun. As a comet nears the Sun, the Sun's radiation causes the ices and dust to form a cloud around the nucleus, called the coma, a hydrogen cloud, and the tail.
A minor planet with exposed ices or volatiles. A comet's volatiles produce a coma and tail through solar heating and interaction with the solar wind.
A small celestial object which orbits the sun in a long elliptical orbit. Comets are made up mostly of ice and dust. As comets approach the Sun in their orbit they develop a tail as gas and ice are blown off by the solar wind.
A celestial body orbiting the sun (though some may be ejected from the solar system by planetary perturbations) that displays (at least during a portion of its orbit) some diffuseness and/or a "tail" of debris that points generally in the anti-solar direction. Both the diffuseness (generally called a coma) and the tail are composed of gas and/or dust of various atomic or molecular compositions, as is ascertained by spectroscopy. The coma and tail material come from a much smaller nucleus that is usually invisible due to the bright surrounding coma activity. Close-up pictures of a cometary nucleus did not occur until spacecraft fly-bys of Halley's comet in 1986.
Solid, frozen lifeless objects made of dirty ice and gas. They are notourius for their long two tails made of gas.
a luminous, irregularly shaped, extra-terrestrial body. The main body of a comet is surrounded by a hazy, glowing envelope of gas and dust particles. These particles characterize and define the body as a comet. Sometimes this glowing material extends beyond the comet, facing away from the sun, causing the appearance of a tail. The nucleus of a comet may be only a fraction of a mile to a few miles in diameter. Comets live in a reservoir in the outer reaches of the solar system called the Oort Cloud, named after the Dutch astronomer, Jan Oort, who concluded in 1950 that such a reservoir exists. There they float slowly, subject to the gravitational pull of passing stars. Occasionally, a star's gravitational pull is strong enough to move a comet out of the Oort Cloud into the inner solar system. When this occurs, the comet can be observed.
A solar system object with an orbit far more eccentric than a planet. On approaching the sun, the comet usually develops a tail as the icy core melts and vaporizes.
One of the small, icy bodies that orbit the sun that make tails of gas and dust when they get close to the sun. See Asteroid, Comet and Meteor Facts page.
a body of dust, frozen water and gases falling sunward from the outer regions of the solar system. Comets become visible when they approach the Sun, as sunlight evaporates their upper layers and creates long tails of dust and ions. Comets are believed to be remnants of the formation of the solar system; some of them (like Halley's comet) are diverted by the attraction of planets into orbits of relatively short periods around the Sun.
Besides being the dog on â€œFull Houseâ€ and a popular household cleanser, comets are bodies in space that orbit the sun, displaying a debris tail that points away from the sun
An icy body orbiting in the solar system, which partially vaporizes when it nears the Sun, developing a diffuse envelope of dust and gas and, normally, on or more tails.
A body of small mass but large volume, compared to a planet, often developing a long luminous and partly transparent tail when close to the Sun.
A comet is a ball of icy material with a higly eccentic elliptical orbit around the Sun.
An icy object in independent orbit about the Sun; smaller than a planet, usually having a highly elliptical orbit extending out to beyond Jupiter.
A small solar system body made of ice and dust that moves in an elliptical orbit around the Sun. A typical comet has a solid nucleus a few kilometers in diameter. When it nears the inner solar system, the ices evaporate and form an extended and diffuse atmosphere that is blown away from the Sun by the solar wind and radiation pressure to form a prominent tail of gas and dust.
Made of ice and dust, these frozen pieces of left-over planets move in elliptical orbits around the Sun. As they approach it and begin to melt, comets may release glowing tails of dust and gas millions of miles long. In our Solar System, most are found outside the orbit of Neptune, in regions called the Kuyper Belt and the Oort Cloud.
A chunk of frozen gasses, ice, and rocky debris that orbits the Sun. A comet nucleus is about the size of a mountain on earth. When a comet nears the Sun, heat vaporizes the icy material producing a cloud of gaseous material surrounding the nucleus, called a coma. As the nucleus begins to disintegrate, it also produces a trail of dust or dust tail in its orbital path and a gas or ion tail pointing away from the Sun. Comet comas can extend up to a million miles from the nucleus and comet tails can be millions of miles long. There are thought to be literally trillions of comets in our solar system out past Neptune and Pluto, but only once per decade or so does one become near and bright enough to see easily without binoculars or a telescope.
a frozen celestial body, a few kilometers across. It consists of water ice and silicate and carbon dust particles and is very porous and fragile. There are probably billions of comets in the solar system, but most of them orbit the sun in a spherical shell at an average distance of more than a light-year and cannot be observed. Every now and then a gravitational disturbance causes one of these little worlds to be thrown into the inner solar system. When the sun heats its surface, a surrounding cloud of evaporated gas and dust develops; this is known as the coma. Later, solar radiation drives the coma into a plume, which is known as the tail. It always points away from the sun irrespective of the motion of the comet, and can be millions of kilometers long. The tail is sometimes split into two: one containing mostly dust particles and another containing mostly ionized gas. Some comets only pass the sun once, whereas others return to become periodic. The cometary coma and tail contain organic and inorganic molecular compounds like those we find in the interstellar medium; in fact the cometary body probably consists of frozen interstellar material, at least partly.
small icy body orbiting the Sun.
A gigantic ball of ice and rock that orbit the Sun in a highly eccentric orbit. Some comets have an orbit that brings them close to the Sun where they form a long tail of gas and dust as they are heated by the Sun's rays.
a medium-sized, icy object orbiting the Sun; smaller than a planet
a small icy object orbiting a star.
A nebulous celestial body having a fuzzy head surrounding a bright nucleus; comets are one of three major types of bodies moving in closed orbits about the sun, the others being the planets and asteroids (minor planets); in comparison with the planets, comets are characterized by their more eccentric orbits and greater range of inclinations to the ecliptic plane.
Frozen masses of gas and dust which have a definite orbit through the solar system.
One of a large number of minor bodies of the solar system which nonetheless is of great interest and importance. Although individually very tiny, comets are so numerous that their total mass is thought to approximately equal that of the major planets combined. There are two vast reservoirs of comets, the so-called Kuiper Belt outside the orbit of Neptune, and the Oort Cloud, a sphere of cometary bodies extending halfway to the nearest star. Of greatest interest are those comets which have been pulled toward the Sun through gravitational tugs of the giant planets or even other stars. As it approaches the Sun, a comet's nucleus of ice, dust, amino acids, and other primordial material sublimates (evaporates directly from solid to gaseous state) material from its surface layer. From the tiny (1-10 km) nucleus can form an enormous temporary atmosphere, called the coma or head of the comet, on the order of 100,000 km across, and a tail of ions and dust ejected from the comet nucleus and streaming away from the Sun for millions of km. Although exceedingly tenuous, comets are highly reflective and are sights of rare beauty. (See also: Periodic comet)
A celestial body that orbits around the sun that is made up of frozen ice, gas and dust. A comet becomes visible when it gets closer to the Sun.
a small body made mostly of frozen water and gases mixed with dust and rock
A comet is a celestial body that orbits around the sun. It is made up of a nucleus (solid, frozen ice, gas and dust), a gaseous coma (water vapor, CO, and other gases) and a tail (dust and ionized gases). Its long tail of gas and dust always points away from the sun, because of the force of the solar wind. The tail can be up to 250 million km long, and is most of what we see. Comets are only visible when they're near the sun in their highly eccentric orbits. NASA's Stardust Mission will visit Comet Wild 2 in 2004.
One of the small, icy bodies that orbit the sun and produce tails of gas and dust when they near the sun.
One of the primitive icy bodies originating in the outer reaches of the solar system that are in elliptical orbits around the Sun. Near the Sun, the icy material vaporizes and streams off the comet, forming a glowing tail.
Bright tail with no break at the peak. Go up as long as their is fuel to burn.
A star which burns leaving a glowing trail of sparks in the air
A relatively small extraterrestrial body consisting of a frozen mass that travels around the sun in a highly elliptical orbit.
An icy, "dirty snowball" (Fred L. Whipple) that orbits the Sun. The majority of comets orbit well beyond Pluto in halos known as the Kuiper Belt and the Oort Cloud that surround the Solar System. Comet size ranges from a few meters to a few kilometers in diameter. Upon close encounters with the Sun, comet ices vaporize, creating a coma, or cloud, around the comet, and a long tail that always points away from the Sun.
A small, frozen mass of dust and gas revolving around the sun in an elliptical orbit.
A diffuse body of solid particles and gas, which orbits the Sun. The orbit is usually highly elliptical or even parabolic. Comets are unstable bodies with masses of the order of 10^18 g whose average lifetime is about 100 perihelion passages. Periodic comets comprise only ~4% of all known comets. Periodic comets are designated by a number, followed by 'P/' and its name. E.g. Halley's comet has the designation 1P/Halley, the parent body of the Perseids, 109P/Swift-Tuttle. See also: Meteoroid Stream
A large mass of ice and dust that has an orbit around a star.
A small ball of rock and ice, typically a few kilometers across, from which emanates a long wispy tail of gas and dust while nearing the Sun in a huge, elongated orbit about the Sun.
A celestial body believed to originate from a cloud of comets that surrounds the Sun and develops a long tail of gas and dust particles when traveling near the inner solar system [LCOTE
A bright star-like body pursuing an eccentric, often extremely lengthy orbit of the Sun. The luminous "tail" of the comet, meteoric material and gases, streams into space due to the heat of the Sun. Traditionally, comets are considered to be ill-omens, as they seem to break the natural order of the cosmos.
A body of our Solar System. Comets are composed of rocks, dust and ices. They are believed to come from the Oort cloud and possibly contain material from the earliest days of the Solar System. As they approach the Sun, the ices begin to evaporate forming a coma and one or more tails.
A comet is a small body in the solar system that orbits the Sun and (at least occasionally) exhibits a coma (or atmosphere) and/or a tail â€” both primarily from the effects of solar radiation upon the comet's nucleus, which itself is a minor body composed of rock, dust, and ices. Comets' orbits are constantly changing: their origins are in the outer solar system, and they have a propensity to be highly affected (or perturbed) by relatively close approaches to the major planets. Some are moved into sungrazing orbits that destroy the comets when they near the Sun, while others are thrown out of the solar system forever.