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Exploring Space


Meteors, Asteroids, & Comets
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                    Dirty snowballs

      Comets, also known as dirty snowballs, are like small member of our Solar System. They travel around the sun in an oval shaped path, but it can take from about 7 years to 1 million years for comets to go around the sun.  Comets are are a combination of ice and dust. One comet is made up of about 75% gas and water (ice), and the other 25% is made up of chunks of rocky material.

       Comets are predicted to be the remains of the formation of our solar system. A huge cloud of comets, known as the Oort comet cloud, surround the sun in a spherical shell that begins just outside the orbit of Pluto. The comets get no heat from the sun and in result they remain cold and solid all the time. When they do come close to the sun, the ice melts and the comets develop a tail. 

       Besides the tail, comets are made up of several other different parts that include: the nucleus, coma, dust, and ion tail. The nucleus is the middle part of the comet that is made up of ice and gas. The coma is the head of the comet that has carbon dioxide and other neutral gases in it. Lastly, the ion tail is made up of plasma and the dust tail has smoke-sized dust particles.

      Comets are extraordinary objects and gorgeous things to see. We have been fortunate to peer at some comets and the most famous one is Haley's Comet. Haley's comet was last seen in the summer of 1994. (dust). 

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