Comets as Stellar Phenomena Term Paper by Master Researcher

Comets as Stellar Phenomena
Discusses the composition and history of the study of comets.
# 41287 | 988 words | 5 sources | MLA | 2002 | US
Published on Oct 21, 2003 in Physics (Astrophysics) , Astronomy (General)

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This paper explains that comets are stellar bodies that occasionally pass within view of the Earth. The paper examines comets from a research perspective and includes a very simplified explanation of the nature of the comet, as well as a look at the role comets have played in human history.

Comets as Stellar Phenomena
The Study of Comets

From the Paper:

"Comets are stellar bodies that are composed of mixtures of non-volatile grains and frozen gasses. The bodies of comets are normally irregular in shape, rather than being spherical. Unlike asteroids, which also can be composed of a series of similar grains and gasses, comets are classified as comets due to their elliptical orbits that take them into view from earth.
"One of the standards for determining if a stellar body is a comet is found in its orbit. This orbit normally takes the comet very close to the Earth's sun, and then sends the comet out past Pluto. This orbit is cyclical, and the comet repeats the orbit over a specified period. It is believed that some comets actually leave the Earth's solar system and return on a routine basis. (Lean: 41-45)
"The comet itself is composed of two different parts, the coma and the nucleus. The coma is the long vapor tail that stretches behind the comet, while the nucleus composes the body of the comet itself.
"The coma, sometimes referred to as the corona, is the "tail" of the comet that makes this particular stellar body so unique. Comas are composed of diffused materials, most of which are gaseous in nature but some of which are actually solid and held into an orbit of their own around the comet proper. The velocity of the comet causes the coma to stretch behind it like a "tail", which is how this effect got its common name. (Schaaf: 31)"

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