|Pluto Mission||Comets||Kuiper Belt||Solar System||Asteroids|
Comets are known to man for a very long time now. Comet Halley ahs been recorded by Chinese in 240 BC itself!
Comets are mixture of dust frozen gases and water – ices. The dust distinguishes comets from other planets in that they do not get included in the planets when the solar system took root, whereas dust is a part, though of a minor nature of a comet!
DISTINCTIVE PARTS OF COMETS:
Active comets, when they travel past our sun, were found to have:
í Nucleus: Is, stable, solid and formed mostly of ice, gas and small flecks of dust.
í Coma: Very highly packed cloud of water, gases including carbon-di-oxide, sublimed (change from a solid to vapor without first melting) from the nucleus.
í Cloud of Hydrogen: A very huge but not dense, loosely scattered enclosure of Hydrogen.
í Tail of Dust: Smoke like specks of dust in some cases up to 10 Million Kilometers long. Dust specks were steered of the nucleus by the gases that were escaping. These are visible and are seen by naked eyes.
í Tail of Ion: Several Hundred Million Kilometers long.
Comets can be seen only when they travel near the Sun. Comets have orbits which are eccentric and travel far beyond Pluto’s orbit. These are seen only once and then they disappear into the void. Only periodic comets like Comet Halley are seen to orbit on a regular path and appear at regular intervals. It is believed that there are 184 periodic comets in the orbit. When a comet travels near the Sun, its ice and gas is lost and in their place they retain a rocky asteroid like object.
This phenomena occurs when our good old Earth passes through the orbit of a Comet. The meteor showers are visible to the eyes. Every year between August 9 and 13, we can witness a shower of meteors as the Earth passes through the orbit of Comet Swift-Tuttle.
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