Can a Comets Explode?

In olden times, people trembled with fear when they saw a comet. They believed that comets were evil signs foretelling plagues, wars, and death. Of course we no longer believe this, but some people still wonder if a comet could cause harm on earth. Suppose a comet explodes?

As far as we know, comets do not explode. But they do break up. for example, there was a certain comet that had been observed several times, and then in 1846 it split in two, making a pair of comets. Finally, both parts broke up into bits to small to be seen.

These pieces are thought to be the shower of meteors that we see regularly in late November. So it would seem that comets do eventually die. They do this by breaking up and then scattering along their orbits in the form of meteoric dust. A comet is not a solid chunk of matter. Scientists think that comets are made of the heaviest material and is called "the nucleus".


Around the nucleus is a part known as "the coma". It is a hazy, cloud-like cover that may be 150,000 miles or more across. And the tail of a comet is made up of a very thin gases and fine particles. So even though a comet looks pretty solid when it glows across the sky, it is really mostly tiny particles and gases. 

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