Comets and Asteroids

Research Project by Emmanuel Ndukwe


  • Comets are bodies in the Solar System that are made up of ice, dust, and rock (it is sometimes referred to as "dirty snowballs".
  • Comets are remaining parts of planet formations.
  • Comets were made the same time the solar system was made: 4.6 billion years ago. They came about as "left overs" of planets that were forming at the time.
  • Comets have a nucleus (which can mostly be considered as the comet itself).
  • As comets get nearer to the sun, it heats up and comas and dust tails are formed.
  • A Coma is an atmosphere, full of dust, that surrounds the comet as it get closer to the sun. A Dust Tail is a tail of "small solid particles" that extends for miles. It is as a result of the "pressure of light from the sun (radiation pressure)" that dust is moved away from the comet.
  • Comets do not have dust tails and comas when they are far from the sun.
  • As comets get closer to the sun, sublimation takes place in which small solid material on the comet turn straight into a gas (in sublimation, the liquid phase is skipped when things are sublimated).
  • A comets' orbit is much more of an elliptical shape in comparison to planets' orbit shape which is more circular (but not completely).
  • The picture below shows the comet PanSTARRS. It was taken by Terry Lovejoy in Brisbane, Australia. He used an 8" telescope with 5 minuets of exposure and a QHY9 camera.
Big image

Comet Video

The video below talks of comets - what they are and how they function. This video was made by MonkeySee - "a website of how-to instructional videos". Comets have elliptical orbits. The are short and long period comets. Comets that complete their full orbit around the sun in less than two-hundred years are called short period comets. Comet orbits that take more than two-hundred years are long period comets. One vocabulary word in this video is Oort Cloud which is the "vast large cloud of cometary bodies that orbits the sun".


Works Cited


  • Asteroids are hard, rocky bodies that are mostly found in the Asteroid Belt, which is between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.
  • As asteroids are hard, rocky bodies, (most) meteoroids are parts of asteroids that have been broken off a long time ago. Meteors are bright paths or trails left by meteoroids as they enter into the earth's atmosphere. Meteorites are meteoroids that were able to survive coming into the earth's atmosphere and have actually landed on the earth's surface.
  • A near-earth asteroid is an asteroid whose orbit makes it to come close to the earth's orbit.
  • On June 30, 1908, in Siberia, an explosion of an asteroid (probably 160 ft in size), that was entering the earth's atmosphere, sent a shock wave that caused a huge crater to form with an "epicenter" of 5 miles and the scorched area around being 45x35 miles (the size of a large city, according to <>). In 1927, a man named Leonid Kulik went to see the land affected by the asteroid shock wave. What was seen there was scorched and blown down trees along with dry, scorched land.
  • Asteroids were formed the same time comets and the solar system was made: 4.6 billion years ago.
  • The asteroid picture by the side is asteroid Vesta. At a distance of 3,200 miles (5,200 kilometers), NASA's Dawn Spacecraft captured the picture of the asteroid.

Asteroid Article

The article below talks of an asteroid named 2014 UR116 that has the possibility of hitting the earth. The author of this article is "The Telegraph" - a news website. 2014 UR116 orbits the earth every three years. NASA's Near-Earth Object Office has said that even though the orbit of 2014 UR116 is near the "earth's neighborhood", it is not close enough to be a threat to the earth. 2014 UR116 is 400 meters in size. Out of 100,000 near-earth objects, NASA has only found and catalogued 11,000. One vocabulary word seen in the article is "trajectory". "Trajectory" is the "curve of a projectile, rocket, or the like in its flight" <>.


Works Cited