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Artwork of nucleus and tail of a comet

Artwork of nucleus and tail of a comet

C022/6420

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Credit

MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Artwork of the icy core (nucleus) of a comet. Comets are mostly frozen ices (water, methane and ammonia) and dust, and they are often referred to as 'dirty snowballs'. The nucleus of a comet can be many kilometres across. They orbit the Sun on highly elliptical orbits. When far from the Sun they are inert; but as they approach, the Sun's heat warms them up, surface ices begin to melt and jets of high-pressure gases begin to erupt from the surface. It is these gases that give the comet its distinctive coma (head) and tail.

Release details

Model release not required. Property release not required.

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