It’s a bird!? It’s a plane!? It’s a comet! A comet is a small solar system body that is made up of frozen gasses and dust. Comets orbit the sun and are heated up causing them to release dust and gases, giving a comet a visible tail. Comets are frequently confused with asteroids and meteoroids, but they have very different characteristics. Asteroids are basically big rocks that are in orbit around the sun. The major difference between asteroids and comets is the tail. Asteroids do not release gas, since they are not made of ice. Meteoroids are similar to asteroids, only much smaller. Comets are truly unique in the solar system, and can likely be found in the Kuiper belt and farther in the Oort Cloud. It is estimated that there are billions of comets in our solar system, but there are only about 3,500 known comets. Keep an eye out, and maybe you will be lucky enough to see one!
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