Brandt, John C. Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado.
- Discovery and designation
- Oort Cloud and comet evolution
- Near-Sun and near-Earth comets
- Kuiper Belt objects
- Modern theory
- Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 and Jupiter
- Comet Hyakutake
- Comet Hale-Bopp
- Comet McNaught
- Space missions to comets
- Comets and the public
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
One of the major types of objects that move in closed orbits around the Sun. Compared to the orbits of planets and asteroids, comet orbits are more eccentric and have a much greater range of inclinations to the ecliptic (the plane of the Earth's orbit). Physically, a comet is a small, solid body, the nucleus, which is typically 3 km (2 mi) in diameter (but with a large range of sizes), contains a high fraction of icy substances, and shows a complex morphology, often including the production of an extensive atmosphere and tail, as it approaches the Sun. See also: Asteroid; Planet
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