What is Comet?
A comet is a solid celestial body covered with organic material at rest, such as water, methane, ammonia or dry ice, which sublimate with solar energy, that is, they pass from the solid to the gaseous state, without passing through the liquid state.
The word comet comes from the Latin comēta, which means “hair”, alluding to the characteristic wake or tail that is generated in this celestial body when it approaches the Sun.
The path of a comet can be elliptical, parabolic, or hyperbolic, and the vast majority of comets make periodic trips.
When a comet passes through the Earth’s atmosphere, it decomposes into multiple fragments, causing a shower of stars.
Origin of comets
Comets have two possible sources: the Oort cloud and the Kuiper belt.
It is a spherical formation that contains asteroids and comets inside. It is a hypothetical cloud, since it has not been seen yet, and it is believed that it is located at the limits of the Solar System. Long-period comets are suspected to come from this cloud.
It is a set of comets and other celestial bodies that orbit around the Sun, near the planet Neptune. Short-period comets are believed to come from there.
Structure of a comet
A comet is made up of five parts: nucleus, coma, ionic tail, dust tail, and hydrogen envelope.
It is made up of ice and rocks. From here come the remains of the cometary dust that will later become part of the tail. It is the brightest part of the comet.
It is the cloud of dust and gas that covers the core.
It is formed with ions that are expelled from the nucleus. Its extension can reach several kilometers and although it is present in all comets, it is not always visible.
It is generated at the time of sublimation, when solar energy releases the dust found in the core.
When the comet absorbs ultraviolet light, it releases hydrogen, creating a kind of layer or envelope around it.
Comets are classified according to their size, their cometary age and the periodicity with which they complete their orbit.
According to your size
- 0-1.5 km: dwarf kite.
- 5 to 3 km: small kite.
- From 3 to 6 km: medium kite.
- 6 to 10 km: large kite.
- From 10 km to 50 km: giant kite.
- More than 50 km: Goliath.
According to your cometary age
The age of a comet is measured based on the orbits it has made around the Sun and is expressed in CY ( cometary years )
- Less than 5 CY: baby kite.
- Less than 30 CY: young kite.
- Less than 70 CY: medium kite.
- Less than 100 CY: old kite.
- Over 100 CY: Comet Methuselah.
According to your transfer period
The movement of translation is the one that the comet makes around the Sun. The periods of a comet can be:
- Under 20 years old: short period kites.
- Between 20 and 200 years old: intermediate period kites.
- Between 200 and 1,000,000 years old: long-period kites
There are comets that only only pass once and then disappear forever, which is why they are called non-periodic. They are characterized by having parabolic or hyperbolic orbits. For their part, periodic comets have elliptical orbits.