Comets are some of the most curious celestial bodies. And this is fully justified. The bright luminous stripe following the head of the "space guest" makes a strong impression. Since ancient times, the appearance of a "shooting star" caused a surge of prophecies and fears among ordinary people.
More recently, a number of scientists managed to find out the secret of the origin of the most famous comets in the solar system. Applying the methods of chemical modeling, the researchers succeeded in the identity of the composition of the “beauties of the firmament”. Moreover, the place of their birth was found out - it is a belt around our young star. Where, at the initial stage of the formation of our star system, comets began to form. Later, under the influence of the gravitational forces of the planets, they "scattered" in different orbits and at great distances from each other.
External or long-period comets arrive to us from the so-called Kuiper Belt. And perhaps even the Oort cloud behind it. Where their number, according to rough estimates, is a figure with 12 zeros.
What comets are made of:
- Compressed Ice.
- Small amounts of metal are sometimes present.
Visually, the comet can be divided into 3 parts:
- Coma, or hazy shell around the core.
- Tail splitting into two parts: dust and plasma.
14 interesting facts about comets
- The vast majority of comets in the Universe have no tail. They owe its appearance to the Sun, heating the ice block of the "traveler" flying past him. The length of this beautiful and frightening "plumage" can reach up to half a billion kilometers. It also happens that the tail comes off the head.
- The mass of this celestial body is distributed very disproportionately. The tail and who accounts for only 10%, and the rest is the core.
- A gaseous shell is located around the comet's solid body as a result of the melting of ice.
- The appearance of the "sinister beauty" in the sky caused terror and panic. Its approach was associated with upcoming catastrophes and cataclysms. Astrologers and oracles of all stripes, pointing to a brightly luminous body, predicted "heavenly punishment" for all sins and unbelief.
- By the way, the famous Star of Bethlehem, which showed the Magi the birthplace of Jesus Christ, is quite possibly nothing more than a comet.
- The artifacts that have survived to this day date the first observations of the "eternal wanderers" to the 3rd millennium BC. And their beautiful name "shaggy stars" are obliged to the ancient Greeks. They associated the look of a glowing tail with a bun of loose long hair.
- Comets lead a kind of elliptical "round dance" around the Sun. Now approaching, then, moving away from the star. This explains the fact of aging and gradual disappearance of "space travelers". Warmed up and "fluffed" their tail, they lose their mass, eventually disappearing from the sky.
- Clusters of these celestial bodies form families named for the similarly sized orbits of the planets. There are the families of Neptune, Uranus, Saturn and Jupiter.
- Some comets in the night sky can be seen with the naked eye. But this is only a small part of their number. These "lucky ones" were lucky to shine with bright tails to the delight of the onlookers. The most prominent comets are called great comets.
- There is an unconfirmed hypothesis of the origin of life, thanks to the introduced biomass that fell to the surface of our planet.
- Halley's most famous comet has been known to mankind since the 3rd century BC. We owe this discovery to the first Chinese astronomers. Since then, every 76 years it passes near the Earth, bringing terror to the inhabitants with its appearance.
- Taking advantage of the ignorance of the majority of the population, smart merchants sold gullible buyers protective equipment in the form of umbrellas and gas masks.
- Since 1986, the study of celestial bodies has reached a new technical level. Automatic interplanetary stations of the Vega series, plus, manufactured in Europe by Giotto, provided the scientific world with information and photographs of comets. 2005 - Deep Impact received images from the surface of Comet Tempel using a probe. 2014 is the historical date of visiting the surface of the Churyumov-Gerasimenko comet by an artificial spacecraft. It took more than 10 years of careful piloting to complete such a complex operation.
- According to experts, the destruction of our planet will require a very small celestial body 1 km in diameter. But the Earth has an "elder brother" who, literally, with his body and weight, covers us from this terrible threat. This is Jupiter. Perhaps it is to him that we owe the preservation of our civilization from intergalactic catastrophes.