Comets are one of the 6 celestial bodies which you can observe with your telescope and even with the naked eyes. However, if you want to see comets with naked eyes, you will have to wait for every 20 to 30 years.
On the other hand, a telescope makes it easier for you to observe the comets anytime during the year. So, without further delay, let’s have an insightful overview of comets.
Celestial Bodies – Comet History
In 1995, the orbits of the 878 comets were classified and calculated. Out of 878, 148 comets are periodic, having orbital periods are less than 200 years. The remaining comets, some of them, are also periodic, but it cannot be said for sure because they are not determined with enough accuracy.
Dirty snowballs or icy mudballs are also some words used for comets. Comets are a mixture of ices, water, and frozen gases. The composition of comets makes them very interesting samples of the solar system.
Comets have a number of distinct parts when they are moving near to the sun.
These are the nucleus, dust tail, coma, ion tail, and hydrogen cloud.
The nucleus of a comet is composed of stable and relatively solid particles. Most of the particles are ice and gases, in addition to small amounts of dust particles and a number of other solids.
The dust tail of a comet is quite long. It is about 10 million kilometers long. The composition of a comet includes smoke-sized dust particles, which the nucleus gives out as the gases escape. Since it is the most prominent part of a comet, it can be seen by the naked eye.
The coma is made up of carbon dioxide, a dense cloud of water, in addition to a number of neutral gases sublimed from the nucleus of the comet.
The ion tail is several kilometers long. Its length is approximately several hundred million kilometers. The ion tail is composed of plasma, laced with rays and streamers, which are caused by their interaction with the solar wind.
Celestial Bodies – Hydrogen Cloud
The hydrogen cloud of a comet is quite huge. It is about millions of kilometers in diameter. It consists of a very scattered envelope of the neutral hydrogen.
The comets are not visible unless they move near to the sun. Because of the irregular orbits of Comets, they move far beyond the orbits of pluto.
Before they disappear for millennia, which is a period of thousand years, they are seen only once. Comets like Halley, who has short term and intermediate periods, move within the orbits of pluto, only for a considerable fraction of their orbits.
Most of the Comets lose their ice and gas and leave a rocky object, which seems like an asteroid in appearance, after 500 years when it comes near to the sun. Half of the asteroids near the Earth perhaps are dead comets.
The orbit of the comet when it takes it near the Sun, it either encounters the other planets or impacts them (especially Jupiter), which causes the comets to be ejected from the solar system.
So far, Hally is the most famous comet, but in the week of summer 1994, LS 9 was also a big hit. Therefore, these two are very prominent in the solar system.
When Earth passes through the orbits of the comet, Meteor shower sometimes occurs. Perseid shower occurs with great regularity between the dates of August 9 and 13 when Earth passes the orbit of the comet Swift-Tuttle.
Comet Hally, which is a source of Orionid shower, occurs in October.
Many amateur astronomers discovered a number of comets. Commits are only visible during the sunrise or sunset as they are brightest when near to the sun. The Planetarian program provides us the charts showing the positions of comets in the sky.
Interesting Facts about Comets
There are millions of Comets and are all orbiting the sun
Most of the comets take two hundred years to complete one orbit around the sun. Other travel much slower. They take millions of years to complete one complete orbit.
Spends most of their years in Kuipers belt
Two comets mostly crash into one another. When this happens, they can change their direction, throwing them out towards the inner solar system.
Traveling through a comet’s tail is not dangerous
It is not dangerous to pass through a comet’s tail; even earth passes through it. When the earth passes through its orbit, we usually see a meteor shower.
The word Comet comes from a Greek word
The word comet is made up of the Greek word Komets, meaning long hair. This word shows how the comet tail looks like a long flowing lock of hair.
The Comet is warmed by the Sun when it approaches the inner planets
When a comet reaches the inner planets, it melts and throws out gas and dust. It results in the formation of the head and the tail. The comet that we see in the sky, the tail is an important part of that comet. The tail of the comet always points away from the sun.
It indicates that the tail is sometimes in front of the comet, and at some places, it is at the back. It depends on the comet, whether it moves towards or away from the sun.
Wrapping Up the Celestial Bodies – Comets
The celestial bodies include the 6 different types of non-Earthly objects, and Comets are one of them. You can observe them with naked eyes, but not everyone is that much fortunate.
But don’t worry, you always have a chance to observe comets if you have one of the best telescopes and a passion for astronomy. So, grab your telescope and point it towards the starry sky at night so you can observe the beautiful view of celestial bodies.