Caption: Structure of a comet, showing its nucleus, coma and its gas (white) and ion (blue) tails. The nucleus is a small icy, rocky body. When the comet approaches the Sun, the heat causes some of its volatile ices to sublime, releasing large quantities of gas, dust and ice particles in jets from its surface. This material forms an extended atmosphere around the comet, called a coma. The solar wind and the radiation pressure from the Sun push away the coma material, forming a tail that points away from the Sun. The tail has two components, a blue ionided gas tail, which points directly away from the Sun due to interactions with its magnetic field, and a yellower dust tail, comprising ice and dust blown from the comet.

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Keywords: astronomical, astronomy, body, coma, comet, cometary, dirty snowball, dust, evaporating, evaporation, gas, ice, icy, ion, jet, jets, nucleus, off-gassing, offgassing, out-gas, out-gassing, outer, outgassing, solar system, space, structure, sublimation, subliming, surface, tail, tails, vaporised, vaporising, vaporized, vaporizing, vapour

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Comet structure

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