Comets are a relatively small solar system body that orbits the Sun. They are composed of ice, dust and small rocky particles from the early formation of the solar system about 4.5 billion years ago. The name comet, comes from the Greek word which means, “hair of the head.” Greek philosopher Aristotle, observed comets as “stars with hair.”
Comets have a small solid part, called a nucleus. When comets are close to the Sun and begin to warm up, they will display a visible fuzzy outline or atmosphere called a “coma” and sometimes a tail. The coma is created as the sun’s heat causes ice, carbon dioxide and other compounds to quickly change from solids to gases. “Vents” on the sun-warmed side may release fountains of dust and gas for thousands of miles. The comet gets bright enough to see from Earth while the coma grows larger.
Read more about comets in today’s Science Fun!
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