Foundational Knowledge: Comets

Snowballs from space light up night sky

Derby Roan, Copy Editor

Comets are frozen chunks of ice and matter which, when heated by a sun, expand and glow, creating the white streaks in the sky that we can observe from earth. Chinese astronomers kept extensive records of comets, as they were a cause for excitement and alarm. Today, we’re less awed by comets.
Most comets are the size of a town when frozen, but they can expand to be larger than a small planet. The heat of the sun causes the frozen liquids into a gaseous state, creating an outward pressure, or expansion, and leaving behind a tail of gas and dust.
Though we now understand the visual phenomena that is a comet, scientists are eager to get their hands on more information about comets after glycine, a building block of life, was found in a sample of a comet. Some scientists even believe it was comets that collided to form earth in the big bang.

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