Comet Facts for Kids

A comet is a relatively small solar system body that orbits the Sun. When close enough to the Sun they display a visible coma (a fuzzy outline or atmosphere due to solar radiation) and sometimes a tail.

The coma is created as the comet gets closer to the Sun, causing water, carbon dioxide and other compounds to sublime (quickly changing from solid to gas) from its surface.

Comets are made of ice, dust and small rocky particles.

The name comet comes from the Greek word meaning ‘hair of the head’, it came from the Greek philosopher Aristotle who observed comets as ‘stars with hair’.

Short term comets (also known as periodic comets) have orbital periods of less than 200 years while long term comets have orbital periods of over 200 years.