Large, Distant Comets More Common Than Previously Thought

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NASA Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s WISE spacecraft, scanning the entire sky at infrared wavelengths, has delivered new insights about distant cometary wanderers.

Comets that take more than 200 years to make one revolution around the Sun are notoriously difficult to study. Because they spend most of their time far from our area of the solar system, many “long-period comets” will never approach the Sun in a person’s lifetime. In fact, those that travel inward from the Oort Cloud — a group of icy bodies beginning roughly 186 billion miles (300 billion kilometers) away from the Sun — can have periods of thousands or even millions of years.

nasa.gov: Large, Distant Comets More Common Than Previously Thought

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Solar System: Things to Know This Week

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Photos: Asteroids in Deep Space

Space.com Science and Astronomy

ASTEROIDSPIXABAY

 

There are countless asteroids in our solar system. See amazing photos of asteroids from astronomers and NASA spacecraft studying the space rocks up close.

Source: Photos: Asteroids in Deep Space

25 Weirdest Facts About the Solar System

Our solar system is a bizarre place with its alien planets, mysterious moons and strange phenomena that are so out-of-this-world they elude explanation.

Source: 25 Weirdest Facts About the Solar System

Space.com 25 Weirdest Facts About the Solar System