This is a drawing which shows how some comets approach the sun.
Click on image for full size
As comets pass into the inner solar system, after being disturbed from the Oort cloud, they remain in orbit around the sun only if they are captured into an elliptic trajectory, or path.
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As the ices of the comet nucleus evaporate, they expand rapidly into a large cloud around the central part of the comet. This cloud, called the coma, is the atmosphere of the comet and can extend for millions...more