Ever Wonder What the Difference is Between a Comet and a Meteor?

Comet Image Gallery

A comet is a small celestial object made mostly of ice and dust that, when close enough to the sun, displays a visible coma (a fuzzy outline) and sometimes a tail. They typically orbit the sun in elongated paths and can be visible for days. A meteor, also known as a shooting star or falling star, is the visible streak of light that occurs when a meteoroid (small piece of debris in space) enters the Earth’s atmosphere and vaporizes. Meteors are typically much smaller than comets and are only visible for a few seconds.

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The Facts About Newly Discovered Comet ISON

Comet ISON as imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope

Comet ISON was discovered in September 2012 by Russian astronomers Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novichonok.  They are part of a night sky survey program called the International Scientific Optical Network (ISON).  The comet was named after this program.

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Comet Shapes

What is the Shape of a Comet?

I don’t know about you, but until recently, I’ve never really thought about the shape of a comet.  I’m not talking about the overall shape, with the bright coma and long, beautiful tail.  No, I’m talking about the nucleus – the center or core of a comet. 

New Comet McNaught C/2009 R1 Becoming Visible!

New Comet McNaught

New Comet McNaught

There is the potential for all of us to be able to see a newly discovered comet with the naked eye within the next month!  Comet McNaught, which is officially cataloged as C/2009 R1 was discovered by Australian astronomer Robert McNaught in September of 2009.  The comet is already visible through binoculars and is sporting an impressive tail.  It is predicted that the comet will pass closest to Earth next week and continue on toward the sun, where it will reach perihelion on July 2.

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