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An interesting and popular space mechanism is popular with the name of Comets. These are mixtures of dust and ice and composed of many parts. This research paper aims at identifying what comets really are, their composition, Orbital characteristics, their origin and history along with their impact and interaction with other planets.

Table of Contents


What is a Comet?1

Definition of Comet1

Physical Characteristic of Comets2

Where do Comets come from?3

Orbital Characteristics3

Can Comets affect planets?4

Discoverers of Comets5


Famous Comets6





The solar system comprised of many small bodies. However, much is known about them since long. The comets are placed among the solar system small bodies that are been known since ancient times.

What is a Comet?

Definition of Comet

A small celestial body that consists of the vast amount of dust and gases is famous with the name of Comets. These comets move in an extended oval or nearly parabolic position around the sun. These comets are visible from the earth and can be seen for a time period ranging from few days to several months. These comets for a long period of time are regarded with admiration and even dread. They were often given the charge of being warnings for unfavorable events in history (The Columbia Encyclopedia, 2011). 878 comets have been assembled in the year 1995. Their orbits have been roughly estimated. Out of these, the period comets were 184 in number (orbital periods less than 200 years). However, some of the other comets are even periodic, but the determination of their orbits did not take place that makes it difficult to ensure their sufficient accuracy.

Comets are also famous with the name of dirty snow balls. It is because they are a combination of ices (both in the form of water and frozen gases) and dust. At the time of the formation of the solar system, these ices and dust did not get a place in the planets due to some causes. This is the reason that comets are considered as very interesting samples of the solar system's early history (Doherty).

Physical Characteristic of Comets

Comets have several distinct physical characteristics when they are near the sun and are in an active position. These characteristics include

Nucleus: It is comparatively very solid and stable. Mostly ice and gas us present along with a combination of a small amount of dust and other solids.

Coma: Combination of dense cloud of water, carbon di oxide and other neutral gases that are sublimed from the nucleus.

Hydrogen Cloud: It is huge (like in terms of diameter it is in millions of km.) but very light envelope of neutral hydrogen.

Dust tail: It is a composition of dust particles that are of smoke sized. The length is up to 10 km. and has driven off the nucleus by evading gases. For an unassisted eye, it is the most pivotal and prominent element of the comet.

Ion Tail: It is as much as several hundred million km in length and is a combination of plasma and fastened with the rays and streamers ...
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