Comets and Asteroids


  • Comets or "dirty snowballs" are big chunks of rock and ice that just floats around in the Oort cloud.
  • These comets are formed when the gravity from a star becomes strong and the ice heads towards the sun.
  • These comets are often formed and enter our solar system due to the gravity.
  • The tail of the comet is formed by the ice melting as it gets closer to the sun, and you can only see the tail if the comet is close to the sun.
  • Up close a comet is huge, the center of a comet is generally six miles across
  • From a distance, the comet will look like a long glare of light that has a long tail
  • Just like the planets in our solar system comets orbit around the sun
  • The comets orbit is a very lop sided orbit, the comet is pulled faster and faster and is often pulled into the sun

( The picture below is an image of comet ISON which was taken at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in November)

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NASA | Observing Comet Siding Spring at Mars


  • Asteroids or "minor planets" are made up as the same materials as the planets in our solar system but, they are much smaller.
  • Many people throw the terms meteor, meteorite, and asteroid around assuming that they are all the same thing, yet they are not. A meteor is a asteroid that starts to catch fire and burn once it arrives in earths atmosphere. A meteorite is when the meteor survives the plunge down to earth and does not deteriorate.
  • There are some instances that these asteroids are close/closer to earth's atmosphere. In that case those asteroids are called near earth asteroids(NEA). These NEA's can pose as a collision threat but, most often they eliminated by the sun.
  • One famous asteroid that hit earth was one 65 million years ago. This 10 kilometer asteroid hit north of the Yucatan Peninsula, which created global warming to take effect. This impacted the word majorly because this was the cause of the dinosaurs extinction.

( The asteroid you see below is a picture of Asteroid 243 Ida)

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Asteroid 2014 UR116

Scientists have confirmed that a Near Earth Asteroid will not pose a threat to Earth says NBC news. They say that " These computations rule out the object as an impact threat to earth ( or any other planet) for at least the next 150 years." In addition that this asteroid has a orbital cycle that passes earth every three years.

-Orbital period: The Orbital period is the time taken for a given object to make one complete orbit around another object.