Comets – Visitors From Beyond
What we love most in the world of astronomy is a well-kept mystery. And if ever there was a mysterious and very powerful force of nature that we see in the night sky, it is the arrival of mighty comets.
The arrival of a comet in the eyes of the Earth is an event of international importance. The sight of these amazing space objects is simultaneously eerie and awe-inspiring, with the mass media attention turning to the Halley or Hale-Bopp scene.
After all, seeing this comet brings out the astronomers in all of us. But what are comets? Where did it come from? And how does it get that fabulous tail?
We should not confuse comets with asteroids. Asteroids are small space rocks that come from an asteroid belt in the middle of Mars and Jupiter. While still quite astonishing to look at, they are pale in comparison to the comet’s arrival. Asteroids have also been extensively researched by the scientific community.
Not much is known about the comet. As a rule, comets are much beyond asteroids. The composition of a comet is a nebula, a mixture of gas, ice, dust, and space debris. One scientist called the composition of the comet a “dirty snowball” because the composition is so varied and variable. The center or nucleus of a comet is usually fairly solid, but the “snowball” of material often forms a “cloud” around the nucleus that can be quite large and spread far behind the comet as it passes through space. Is. That trailing wing makes up the comet’s spectacular tail which makes it so exciting to watch when a comet appears on Earth.
The origin of comets is equally mysterious. There are many theories about where they came from, but it is clear that they originated in deep space, somewhere beyond our solar system. Some have speculated that these are leftover fragments from the formation of planets that broke loose from their gravitational pull and were eventually blown into space to be trapped by the gravity of our Sun that brought us into our Solar System.
Another theory is that they come from a gaseous cloud called the Oort cloud that cooled thereafter the Sun formed. As this space debris cools, it settles into a body that gathers enough mass to be pulled into our solar system’s gravity to make a rapid comet toward our Sun. However, due to the strong gravitational orbits of many planets in our solar system, comets do not always strike the Sun immediately and often remain in their own orbit.
The lifespan of a comet varies greatly. Scientists refer to a comet that is expected to burn or impact the Sun within 200 years, as a short-period comet, while a long-period comet has a lifetime of more than 200 years. It may seem tall to us as Earthlings, but in terms of stars and planets, it’s a very short life as a space object.
Scientists around the world have conducted some very impressive investigations to learn more about comets to help our understanding of these extraterrestrial visitors. In 1985, for example, the United States began an investigation into the path of comet Giacobini-Zeiner that gathered extraordinary scientific knowledge about comets through the comet’s tail. Then in 1986, an international consortium of scientists was able to launch a probe that was able to fly as close to Halley’s Comet as it was to Earth and continue the study.
Although science fiction writers and tabloid newspapers want to warn us about the possibility of a comet’s impact on Earth, scientists who understand the orbits of comets and what changes their paths tell us that this is unlikely. This is good because some comets reach such a large size as a planet that the impact would be catastrophic. For now, we can enjoy watching comets make their rare trips across our night sky and marvel at the spectacular show these visitors can see across the universe.