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The tails the Comet Hale-Bopp. Fred Espenak / NASA GSFC

Why perform comets have tails?

Comets develop tails as they approach perihelion—the ar in your orbits when they are closest to the Sun. The Sun’s heat vaporizes few of the comet"s material, release dust particles the were trapped in the ice.

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A combination of solar radiation pressure and also solar wind punch away gas and also dust native the comet’s nucleus, developing two different tails: the ion tail and also the dust tail.

Two types of Tails

Ultraviolet light ionizes the neutral gas blown off the comet, and the solar wind carries these ions right out indigenous the sunlight to type the ion tail, which frequently glows blue. The dust tail on the other hand is neutral, written of tiny dust corpuscle (similar in dimension to those uncovered in cigarette smoke). Pressure from the Sun"s radiation pushes these particles away from the comet’s nucleus. This particles proceed to follow the comet’s orbit approximately the Sun, and type a diffuse, curved tail the typically appears white or pink from Earth.

Comets aren"t the just objects in the solar device with tails — current observations display that even asteroids deserve to sprout dust tails ~ above occasion.

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July 27, 2017 in ~ 12:43 am

I"ve been watching the electric Universe on youtube, the insurance claim the comets have actually tails because of electrical distinctions as it comes from means out there to the inner solar system. To it is in honest, it sounds simply a little more believeable than a dirty snowballs melting away together it gets closer come our sun. Can you comment on this? Again to it is in honest, after billions the years, the dirty snowball theory shouldn"t organize up, also 1 trip about the sun.

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Frank C

November 29, 2019 at 4:51 am

Why would there it is in a tail of a comet if there is nothing forcing the gases or debris to slow-moving down more than the comet? Why would not the debris continue at the exact same speed, with the comet?