Astronomy_1_worksheet_4_part_20 - 11. The Comets 1. The...

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11. The Comets 1. The Solar System is a big place. Our tour has been extensive, stretching from the Sun to Pluto and beyond. However, what lies beyond Pluto, far from the Sun, is the realm (home) of the Comets . A comet is a big dirty snowball, a mixture of rocks, water ice, frozen methane and other hydrocarbons packed densely together. Think of a comet as a hard dirty iceball. 2. Comets are very old, as old as the Solar System itself. They formed over 4.6 billion years ago from the same nebula of materials as the rest of the Solar System, fashioned by gravity at the outer edges of the nebula and drifting in space ever since. What is so amazing is that there are so many of them. One estimate puts their number at over 1,000 billion (1 trillion) comets. 3. Comets come in all sizes, from tiny iceballs the size of a baseball to huge moon sized objects hundreds of miles across. They generally orbit the Sun in two areas of concentration. One is the Kuiper Belt , which we’ve already introduced. 4.
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Astronomy_1_worksheet_4_part_20 - 11. The Comets 1. The...

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