Characteristics of comets

In addition, comets can carry the names of the people who discovered them, e.g., comet Halley, comet Machholz, comet shoemaker–levy 9 comet or Mac Note.

Movement and spatial distribution

All comets are members of the Solar system. They, like the planets, are subject to the laws of gravity, but move very peculiar. All the planets revolve around the Sun in one direction (which is referred to as “direct” as opposed to “reverse”) on nearly circular orbits that lie roughly in one plane (the Ecliptic), while comets move in both forward and reverse directions on highly elongated (eccentric) orbits, inclined at different angles to the Ecliptic. It is the nature of motion immediately gives the comet.

Long-period comets (orbital period greater than 200 years) come from regions located thousands of times further than the most remote planets, and their orbits are tilted at all angles. Short-period comets (period less than 200 years) come from the region of the outer planets, moving in the forward direction for orbits lying close to the Ecliptic. Continue reading

Model of the Solar system

Solar system is a system of planets orbiting around a star, the Sun. Among those planets is our Earth. The solar System consists of the sun and of celestial bodies held by solar gravity. The mass of the sun is about 330 000 times the mass of the earth and makes up 99.8% mass entire solar system. The diameter of the sun is 1 400 000 km, i.e. about 109 Earth diameters. In the solar system except the sun is made up of eight planets, over 150 moons, and small bodies such as asteroids, comets and meteors.

In order of proximity to the Sun, the eight planets are mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.

To measure distances in the solar system is used “astronomical unit” (AU). One AU corresponds to the distance from the earth to the Sun. Thus, the distance of one AU is nearly 150 million kilometers. For example, Jupiter rotates on its orbit 5.2 AU, i.e. the distance from the Sun is 5.2 times larger than the Earth. Continue reading

Coma of the comet

The comet’s coma or head of the comet . is a fuzzy mist surrounding the actual nucleus of the comet. Including the tail, the coma is all we actually see, watching the comet from the Earth.

The shape and structure of the comet’s coma

The shape of the coma can vary from comet to comet and for the same comet during its passage, depending on its distance from the Sun and the corresponding quantities of dust and gas. Pale or bright comets producing little dust and often have a round shape, and comets that produce a significant amount of cometary dust have fan-shaped or parabolic shape.

This is due to released different-sized dust grains: those that are bigger are moving to the left along the trajectory of a cometary orbit, and the smaller particles are repelled from the Sun using light pressure.

Coma has 2 main components: gas-shell and shell dust. In fact, scientists believe that comets produce almost the same amount of gas and dust. Continue reading

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