Q:

Where are comets found?

A:

Quick Answer

Most of the comets that enter the solar system originate in either the Oort Cloud or the Kuiper Belt, zones containing trillions of icy and rocky bodies orbiting in the furthest reaches of the sun's influence. Gravitational perturbations or collisions occasionally cause these comets to approach Earth.

Know More

Full Answer

The Oort Cloud is a large spherical cloud surrounding the solar system, and it is the source of most long-period comets that take more than 200 years to make a full orbit. The Kuiper Belt is a disc-shaped area of space beyond Neptune where most short-period comets originate. Both zones are believed to be remnants from the creation of the solar system around 4.6 billion years ago.

Learn more about Comets & Asteroids

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What causes comets to appear?

    A:

    Comets that appear in the inner solar system have generally been pulled by the sun's gravity from one of two large clouds in the outer solar system. The cometary nuclei in these formations, the Kuiper belt and the Oort cloud, formed around the same time in the early solar system. Since that time, around 4.6 billion years ago, the Kuiper belt has changed very little.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Why do asteroids and comets differ in composition?

    A:

    Asteroids and comets differ in composition due to where they were formed. Most asteroids are the rocky remnants of failed planets created in the inner solar system, while comets formed further out where frozen gases and liquids could not be thawed by the heat of the sun.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What do asteroids and comets have in common?

    A:

    Asteroids and comets have several things in common, including a relatively small size as compared to planets and a lack of a viable atmosphere. Asteroids range in size from a few feet to several miles in diameter. Comets are generally smaller, with a rocky core. Both comets and asteroids don't have enough gravity to keep atmospheres.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are the various types of comets?

    A:

    The various types of comets include short-period comets, long-period comets, single-apparition comets and sungrazers. Comets are normally classified according to the amount of time they take to go around the sun.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore