HomeSpace NewsComets fade even as deep in space as Saturn's orbit, scientists find

Comets fade even as deep in space as Saturn’s orbit, scientists find

When comets first appear near Earth, their bright tails of ionized gas stun observers, but on every subsequent return, they become dimmer.

Comets are essentially balls of dirty ice. Astronomers therefore believed that these objects become dimmer on their repeated returns to Earth because they released too much ice and gas during their earlier visits to the inner solar system. The comets melted and shrank because of the sun’s warmth, the thinking goes, so when they return there is less material left to release and therefore a fainter coma.

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