My Stories
Ages: 11-12
Astronomy - Meteors and Comets
Zielle S.
4/21/2015


(1 What is a comet?

Some people describe comets as Ďbig dirty snowballsí. A comet is made of big chunks of rock and ice floating around in something called the Oort Cloud. When the gravity of a large passing body, such as a star, becomes strong enough, large chunks of ice are pulled away from the cloud and heads towards the sun. As that ball of ice gets close to the sun, its heat begins to melt away some of the ice which turns into a gaseous tail that always points away from the heat (in this case, the sun). Why? The tail is pushed out by the Sunís solar force.

What keeps the comet moving is the planets and stars gravity that it passes. When a comet is in our solar system, most of the gravity is because of the sun. As a comet moves closer to the sun, it goes faster and faster, because the closer an object is to the Sun the stronger the Sunís gravity acts. As a comet comes even closer to the Sun, its ice will melt and therefore cause its tail to become longer. Sometimes, a comet will even be following its tail.

Coming up: Astronomy - The Structure of a comet
TO BE CONTINUED...
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