NASA: Comets linked to time Sun, planets were forming!

Taking to its Twitter handle, NASA said that Comets may well be linked to the time when sun, planets were forming.

| Updated on: Aug 21 2022, 23:47 IST
What are Comets?
What are Comets? Where do they come from? Here is what NASA explains. (NASA/MSFC/Aaron Kingery)
What are Comets?
What are Comets? Where do they come from? Here is what NASA explains. (NASA/MSFC/Aaron Kingery)

Do you know when the Sun, planets or our solar system formed? Billions of years ago. What we are talking about a direct link to that time and we can actually see the link itself! Comets. Yes comets are linked to the time that goes as far back as the origin of our sun and planets. A very exciting development has it that the Comets hold material from the time when the Sun and planets were actually forming. Yes, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has informed about the same via a tweet. "Comets are thought to hold material from the time when the Sun and planets were forming. They are like giant, frozen time capsules in our solar system!," NASA Space Place tweeted.

The solar system as well as the Universe beyond is fascinating. Suns, stars, planets, comets, asteroids, black holes and other bodies are floating in space and whenever research leads to a new revelation it is extremely exciting. Today, we will be discussing in detail about the Comets.

What are Comets?

According to the definition provided by NASA, Comets are large objects made of dust and ice that orbit the Sun. These objects are best known for their long, streaming tails. Comets are actually leftovers from the formation of the solar system 4.6 billion years ago. Most comets have impacted some planet or the other and disappeared, while others have just faded away. The ones that didn't are still circling around space and they hold amazing amounts of information about the state of the solar system when it was forming..

Where do comets come from?

Comets are mostly found way out in the solar system. Some exist in a wide disk beyond the orbit of Neptune called the Kuiper Belt. NASA has termed them short-period comets. They take less than 200 years to orbit the Sun. Other comets live in the Oort Cloud, the sphere-shaped, outer edge of the solar system that is about 50 times farther away from the Sun than the Kuiper Belt.

These are called long-period comets because they take much longer to orbit the Sun. It can be known that the comet with the longest known orbit takes more than 250,000 years to make just one trip around the Sun!

How do comets come near Earth?

Gravity is the only thing which attracts objects towards Earth. According to NASA, the gravity of a planet or star can pull comets from their homes in the Kuiper Belt or Oort Cloud. This tug can redirect a comet toward the Sun. The paths of these redirected comets look like long, stretched ovals.

As the comet is pulled faster and faster toward the Sun, it swings around behind it, then heads back toward where it came from. Some comets dive right into the Sun, never to be seen again. When the comet is in the inner solar system, either coming or going, that's when we may see it in our skies.

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First Published Date: 30 Jan, 13:52 IST