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.
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Hale-Bopp continues to offer surprises as astronomers study the comet. Using the Hubble Space Telescope and the International Ultraviolet Explorer, astronomers have found that there are distinctly different...more
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Mathematical theory suggests that comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 was likely a short-period comet which was captured into orbit around Jupiter in 1929 and began to execute the trajectory plotted in this diagram....more
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