Comets - Research Article from World of Earth Science

This encyclopedia article consists of approximately 9 pages of information about Comets.
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Comets

Comets are objects—relatively small compared to planets—that are composed of dust and ices of various compounds. Comets orbit the Sun in elongated elliptical (eccentric, elongated circle) or parabolic orbits. Accordingly, these objects spend the majority of time in the outer regions of the solar system, in some cases well beyond the orbits of Neptune and Pluto. Short-period comets are those with less exaggerated elliptical orbits that carry them out only as far as the region of space between the orbits of Jupiter and Neptune. Comets make periodic, brief, but sometimes-spectacular transits through the inner solar system as they approach the Sun. Comet orbits may be prograde, in the same direction as the planets, or retrograde, in the opposite direction. With the aid of a telescope, a comet is usually visible from Earth.

The term "comet" derives from the Greek aster kmetes (translated...

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This section contains 2,444 words
(approx. 9 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Comets Encyclopedia Article
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Gale
Comets from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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