Comets, such as asteroids, are small celestial bodies that orbit the Sun. However, unlike asteroids, comets are mainly composed of frozen ammonia, methane or water, and contain only small amounts of rocky material. As a conclusion of this composition, comets have been given the short name of dirty snowballs. Read below Facts about Comets
FACTS ABOUT COMETS
Sometimes comets are called “dirty snowballs” or “cosmic snowballs.” This is because they are mainly composed of ice, rock, gas, and dust.
Comets orbit the Sun in elliptical paths, as do planets. However, the path of a comet is much more elliptical than that of any planet.
A comet has four components: a nucleus, a comma, a dust tail, and an ion tail. The nucleus of a comet carries the massive majority of its total mass.
Comets have a halo when they move near the Sun. What happens is that solar radiation vaporizes ice and gaseous gas in the comet in a halo around it. The halo is known as the coma of comets.
The ion tail of a comet is the result of solar winds that expel gas particles directly from the Sun.
A comet’s dust tail is a trail of dust and rocky material that is left behind as it moves along its orbital path.
It is believed that comets originate from one of two regions: theorized Oort Cloud or the Kuiper Belt that lies beyond the orbit of Neptune and the dwarf planet Pluto.
The Oort cloud is an outer region of the Solar System 50,000-150.00 times the distance from the Sun to Earth that is believed to contain dormant comets. Some of the comets that originate here have orbits that last millions of years.
The Kuiper Belt is a ring of dormant comets located beyond the orbit of Neptune. Comets that originate here have orbits that last hundreds of years or less.
The most famous comet is Halley’s comet. It has been observed since at least 240 a. C. Its orbit makes it observable from Earth every 76 years. It was named after British astronomer Edmond Halley.
Notable comets include Hale-Bopp comet, which was discovered in 1995 and Hyakutake comet, discovered in 1996.
There are more than 3,000 kites known today. Scientists believe there will be up to one billion comets in our solar system.
A large comet is one that is bright enough to be visible from Earth without the need for a telescope. Approximately a large comet occurs every ten years.
In facts, there are several famous comets, some known to ancient humans and others that appeared recently. Below are the best-known comets.
Halley comet. In 1705, while studying the orbits of several known comets, Edmond Halley discovered that the comet observed in 1531, 1607 and 1682 was one in it. As a result of Halley’s discovery, the comet bears his name. Halley’s comet is observable every 75 to 76 years.
Comet Hale-Bopp. Comet Hale-Bopp is best known to most people for the highly publicized California cult that believed the comet was a spaceship. It was last visible in 1997 and will not be visible again for approximately 2,300 years. It is named after its co-discoverers, Alan Hale and Thomas Bopp.
Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9. Shoemaker-Levy 9, also known as SL 9, was a chain of comets that were captured by Jupiter’s gravity and subsequently began an orbit around the planet.
However, the SL 9 orbit assumed on Jupiter was very irregular and, as a result of this irregularity, the SL 9 crashed into Jupiter on a bright screen during the week of July 16, 1994. Shoemake-Levy 9 is named of his discoverers, Gene Zapatero, Carolyn Shoemaker, and David Levy.
Other facts about Comets
Humanity has seen comets for millennia. However, scientists have determined that, given the “shedding” of material each time a comet orbits near the Sun, the life of a comet can be only thousands of years, a relatively small number compared to the useful life Of the solar system.
Therefore, scientists have concluded that if comets are still present in the Solar System today, then there must be a comet nursery somewhere in the Solar System, otherwise, all comets would have followed the course of their lives a long time.
In addition, since we have determined that almost all internal objects of the Solar System, the only place left for this deposit of new comets to exist is in the external Solar System.
In the course of the second half of the twentieth century, the evidence provided by the orbits of comets suggested that there is not a single region outside the Solar System that produces comets, but two.
The first of these regions is what is known as the Kuiper Belt, a band of comets similar in many ways to the Asteroid Belt found in the inner Solar System. Comets that originate in this region have relatively short orbital periods and orbit around the Sun in approximately the same plane as the planets.
The second region, called Oort Cloud, is a region further away than the Kuiper Belt and is essentially a spherical shell. Comets that come from this area have much longer orbital periods than those in the Kuiper Belt. In addition, the orbital plane of the Oort Cloud comets may be drastically inclined towards the planetary orbital plane.
As for how a comet that originates in one of these regions acquires an orbit that takes it to the inner Solar System, current theories propose that it can be hit in its new orbit through collisions with another comet or its orbit can be altered by gravitational force of an interstellar object that passes near the outer Solar System.