DETLEV VAN RAVENSWAAY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DETLEV VAN RAVENSWAAY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Labelled illustration of a comet. A comet is an icy body in our Solar system that orbits the Sun. As it approaches the Sun, it begins to heat up and expels gas and dust. This creates a layer of gas, or a coma, around the comet. Comets have two tails; a white dust tail (right) and a blue ion tail (left). The dust tail is formed of dust particles blown off the comet by sunlight. The ion tail is made up of glowing ionised gas pushed off the comet by the charged solar wind. Both tails always point away from the Sun.
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