Comets

Some notes I made from the book.

Nucleus: A solid but fragile, ice-dust mixture of diameter 0.1 to 10 km. A “dirty snowball” which is exposed to cosmic rays, solar wind ions and and surface photoelectron currents.

The “coma” is formed when it passes with r~3 AU of the Sun. A tail may or may not follow.

The nucleus rotates!

Occasional “halos”.

Sometimes they have outbursts (brightness flares).

A diagram of the nucleus:

Comets were probably formed at the same time as the solar system.

They often split (!), usually at a great distance from the sun.

The most widely accepted place of origin for comets is the Oort Cloud, which is located in a vast area surrounding the sun and extending to 1/5 the distance to alpha Centauri, the nearest start to the sun.

Evaluating the situation:

There are  some really interesting things to use visually (nucleus rotating, the comet splitting into two, acquiring the “coma” when approaching the sun, brightness flares..) and the comet itself has some visual interest. How could it be turned into an interactive application though?

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