Icy bodies that usually consist of methane, water, and other materials that originate from beyond the jovian planets, and occasionally fall into the inner solar system giving off a massive tail as material is boiled off.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

1
vote
0answers
40 views

Is Rosetta changing the theory of comets?

Rosetta is now arriving at Comet 67P. Other comets have been analyzed to some degree (Giotto, Deep Space 1, Deep Impact, etc.) So my question is... where I can study the up-to-date theory of ...
1
vote
0answers
21 views

What known comets are binary?

Many asteroids are today known to be binary, to have "moons". But what comets are known to be binary? Or what fraction of them are theoretically thought to be binary? And if possible, then separate ...
1
vote
0answers
16 views

Classification of a Comet

Google's definition of a comet is: a celestial object consisting of a nucleus of ice and dust and, when near the sun, a ‘tail’ of gas and dust particles pointing away from the sun. This ...
7
votes
2answers
922 views

Can two comets travel together as one?

If two comets come together in space, will they bounce apart, merge into a single body, or could they travel together through space, either touching or orbiting a shared center of gravity?
2
votes
1answer
51 views

How would a planetary defence against comets work?

Mappings of practically all potentially dangerous asteroids is well underway. But comets seem almost hopeless to protect against. How far away are approaching comets detected today? How long time ...
4
votes
2answers
124 views

Why don't planets and asteroids have (cometary) tails?

Comets have tails. We all know that, and a lucky few have seen the better known. So why don't the planets (e.g. Earth, Mars) have tails? Why don't asteroids don't have tails?
2
votes
1answer
79 views

What's the estimated remaining life of Halley's Comet?

I know that Halley's comet is seen from Earth every 76 years or so since a couple centuries. As it travels, and particularly when it comes near the sun, it loses some of its material (ice). Someday, ...
6
votes
1answer
171 views

What caused the comet ISON to disintegrate?

So curious to know why comet ISON disintegrated? Well, it went near the Sun but was the Sun the only reason it died? Or is there any other reason for it's fading away?
6
votes
1answer
89 views

Did a piece of Halley's comet strike the Earth 1,500 years ago?

A friend showed me an article saying that there's evidence that a piece of Halley's comet may have struck the earth about 1,500 years ago. Is anyone here aware of such evidence?
5
votes
1answer
59 views

Was comet ISON in a Kepler orbit prior to disintegrating?

Was comet ISON in a Kepler orbit prior to disintegrating? If so, it is possible over time that Kepler orbits can be altered by increases or decreases in the mass of of celestial bodies? For instance ...
3
votes
4answers
258 views

If the hammer and feather move at the same speed why do comet and the tail particles move at different speeds?

From this exhibition by an astronaut on the moon dropping a hammer and a feather and showing they move at the same speed, why do the particles of the comets tail move away from the comet, slow down ...
2
votes
1answer
298 views

Is C/2012 S1 (aka ISON) the fastest comet on record to-date?

This source may be nebulous (no pun intended!) for some. It writes to say Starting at around 95,000mph at the start of this month, Comet ISON will eventually reach an astonishing 845,000mph on ...
15
votes
3answers
2k views

What's the fastest moving object in the universe?

We know that nothing can have proper velocities larger than the speed of light in vacuum. But are there any objects in space that get close to it? Any comets, or other objects thrown by gravity or ...
4
votes
1answer
170 views

Can I see comet ISON from Saudi Arabia?

I live in western Saudi Arabia, I am trying to see the comet ISON, reading here and there tells that I can see it by naked eye somewhere next to the constellation leo, I used an app to tells me where ...
6
votes
1answer
56 views

What is the direction of a comet's dust tail before and after perihelion?

I recently created a visualisation of comet ISON's orbit. However, I received a critique that the dust tail of the comet should be pointing away from the Sun after perihelion. As far as I know, the ...
-2
votes
1answer
188 views

Is it possible the Nebular Hypothesis and Planetesimal Theory are not correct? [closed]

For almost 3 centuries now the Nebular Hypothesis and Planetesimal Theory have become the preeminent explanations for how the Solar System and Planets evolved. Yet there is still no explanation for ...
6
votes
1answer
34 views

Long term development of Comets

When an exocomet passes by our Sun in a trajectory that leads it to establish a Solar Orbit what eventually happens to it? In addition to its original inertia and vector being altered what are the ...
10
votes
1answer
150 views

Why did the Comet Shoemaker-Levy-9 fragments cause such large explosions on Jupiter?

In July 1994, the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 (D/1993 F2) tidally fragmented and these fragments collided into Jupiter, as per the image below. Image source The question is, what mechanisms resulted in ...
12
votes
1answer
99 views

How often do comets survive passage by the Sun?

I had heard that comet ISON might not survive a close pass by our Sun, and I was curious about the odds of how other comets had fared. So, how often do other comets survive a close pass by our sun? ...
7
votes
2answers
103 views

What is the difference between asteroids, comets and meteors?

Some celestial objects seem to be referred to as asteroids, some as comets, and some as meteors or meteorites. What is the distinction between all of these different objects? Are any of them the ...