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Watch a real video of the comet's surface

Watch a real video of the comet's surface

It's snowing on a comet! In fact, the following animation is a series of images taken by the European Space Agency's Rosetta space probe, from a distance of about 13 kilometers from Earth. Comet 67/P Choyormov-Gerasimenko. As the spacecraft moves around the comet, we see the scene change: in the background we can see stars, and this is not snow but ice crystals and dust rising from the surface. Looks like something out of an old movie, But it's completely real. Good vision:


Insights into comets

There is a disc shaped band called Kuiper belt (theory by astronomer Gerard Kuiper in 1951) of icy bodies beyond Neptune, where a “cluster” of comets orbits the Sun in the realm of Pluto. These icy bodies sometimes, driven by gravity, approach the Sun, becoming so-called “Short-period comets“These planets take less than 200 years to orbit our star: in many cases their orbits are predictable because they are already known. They are least predictable.”Long-period comets“, and many of them come from an area called Guillaume Oort It is located approximately 100,000 astronomical units from the Sun (about 100,000 times the distance between Earth and the Sun). It can take up to 30 million years to complete one orbit around our star.

Properties of comets

Comet 67/P Choyormov-Gerasimenko
the Comet 67/P Choyormov-Gerasimenko. Credit ESA/Rosetta/MPS

Each comet contains a small, frozen portion called a comet nucleusIts width is no more than a few kilometers. It contains frozen masses, frozen gases and dust fragments. sinner Its temperature increases as it approaches the sun And develop one dry. heat Shoe It causes the comet's ice to turn into gas and the coma grows hundreds of thousands of kilometers across. the Solar wind It blows dust and gas out of the coma to form a long, bright tail. In fact, comets develop two tails: One of dust and one of ions (gas). Most of them orbit at a safe distance from the Sun: e.g rock bottom Halley's Comet is 89 million kilometers from our star. However, some comets “collide” directly with the Sun or come so close to it that they break up and evaporate. In short, the jewels of our solar system.

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