A comet can be defined as a very small body in solar system which is made up of ice mixed with dust and rock. Most of the comets are not larger than a few kilometres across. The main part of a comet is known as nucleus that contains water, ice and some gases like: – nitrogen, methane etc.
- Comets have their origin in Oort cloud and Kuiper Belt and generally orbit the Sun. These orbits are usually elliptical.
- The closest point in a comet’s orbit is known as ‘perihelion’ and the most distant point is known as ‘aphelion’.
- A comet has two tails, a dust tail and a plasma tail. Dust tail can be easily seen with human naked eye but plasma tail can be photographed only. It is not visible to human eye.
- There are two major types of comets: – periodic and non-periodic.
- A comet develops an atmosphere or a coma as it comes near to sun. This atmosphere gets developed because of the heat it is getting from the Sun.
- There are total 5,253 known comets in the solar system.
- A comet is also known as a dirty snowball.
- Short period comets are originated from Kuiper Belt and long period comets are originated from Oort cloud.
- Halley’s Comet is the most popular periodic comet which is named after Sir Edmond Halley.
- There are evidences that comets cannot support life.
- When a comet comes close to the sun, it loses its mass due to the heat it gets from Sun. This process is known as Sublimation.
- Comets absorbs almost 96% of light that falls on them, rest is reflected.