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Icy Travelers
Comets are cosmic snowballs of frozen gases, rock and dust roughly the size of a small town. When a comet's orbit brings it close to the sun, it heats up and spews dust and gases into a giant glowing head larger than most planets. The dust and gases form a tail that stretches away from the sun for millions of kilometers.

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Rosetta Comet Comes Alive
Rosetta Comet Comes Alive
A spacecraft from Earth is about to do something no spacecraft has ever done before: orbit a comet and land on its surface.Read More...
Comet ISON vs. the Solar Storm
Comet ISON vs. the Solar Storm
In 2007, astronomers were amazed when a solar storm hit comet Encke. The same thing could be in store for comet ISON -- only worse.Read More...
Two Comets to Fly By Mercury
Two Comets to Fly By Mercury
What are the odds? On Nov. 18th and 19th not one but two comets will fly by the planet Mercury.Read More...
Comet ISON: What's Next?
Comet ISON: What's Next?
Comet ISON is now inside the orbit of Earth as it plunges headlong toward the sun for a fiery close encounter on Nov. 28th. Although the comet is not yet as bright as many forecasters predicted, the comet is putting on a good show for observatories ...Read More...
Rosetta: 100 Days to Wake-Up
Rosetta: 100 Days to Wake-Up
ESA's comet-chasing mission Rosetta will wake up in 100 days' time from deep-space hibernation to reach the destination it has been cruising towards for a decade.Read More...
Amateur Astronomers See Comet ISON
Amateur Astronomers See Comet ISON
Anticipation is building as Comet ISON approaches the sun for a close encounter on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 28). No one knows if the blast of solar heating ISON receives will turn it into one of the finest comets in years -- or destroy the icy visitor.Read More...
BRRISON: A Planetary Science Balloon Mission
BRRISON: A Planetary Science Balloon Mission
This fall, NASA plans to launch a new balloon-based mission that will float to the edge of our atmosphere to observe a comet from the far reaches of the solar system.Read More...
Comet ISON to fly by Mars
Comet ISON to fly by Mars
Around the world, astronomers are buzzing with anticipation over the approach of Comet ISON.Read More...
A Timeline Of Comet ISON's Dangerous Journey
A Timeline Of Comet ISON's Dangerous Journey
A comet's journey through the solar system is perilous. Comet ISON is making that journey.Read More...
Comet ISON: What's in a Name?
Comet ISON: What's in a Name?
Credit for comet ISON's name goes to its discovers: Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novinchonok.Read More...
Noctilucent Clouds, Comets, and Meteor Showers
Noctilucent Clouds, Comets, and Meteor Showers
This summer northern skywatchers may be able to see Noctilucent or "Night Shining" Clouds. Also called PMCs (Polar Mesospheric Clouds), these apparitions are a bit of a puzzle for scientists because it is not entirely clear how they form.Read More...
Comet ISON Meteor Shower
Comet ISON Meteor Shower
Anticipation is building as Comet ISON plunges into the inner solar system for a close encounter with the sun in November 2013. Blasted at point-blank range by solar radiation, the sungrazer will likely become one of the finest comets in many years.Read More...
Collision Course? A Comet Heads for Mars
Collision Course? A Comet Heads for Mars
A comet is heading for Mars, and there is a chance that it might hit the Red Planet in October 2014. An impact wouldn't necessarily mean the end of NASA's Mars program. But it would transform the program along with Mars itself.Read More...
Sunset Comet
Sunset Comet
For a comet, visiting the sun is risky business. Fierce solar heat vaporizes gases long frozen in the fragile nucleus, breaking up some comets and completely destroying others.Read More...
Prime Time for PANSTARRS
Prime Time for PANSTARRS
This week is prime time for observing this comet. (Next opportunity, the year 108,013 +/- a few hundred or thousand years.)Read More...
A Possible Naked-eye Comet in March
A Possible Naked-eye Comet in March
An Oort Cloud comet could be heading our way now.Read More...
Comet of the Century?
Comet of the Century?
Later this year, "Comet ISON" could blossom into a striking naked eye object visible even in broad daylight.Read More...
50 Years of Robotic Planetary Exploration: Anita Cochran (Assistant Director of the McDonald Observatory and a Senior Research Scientist at the University of Texas at Austin)
Big Sun-Diving Comet Discovered
Big Sun-Diving Comet Discovered
Dr. Tony Phillips reports on his personal website -- spaceweather.com -- about a newly-discovered comet that may buzz the sun next year.Read More...
Impacts Could be Boon for Subterranean Life
Research... at a Glance
Impacts Could be Boon for Subterranean Life
A drilling project into the Chesapeake Bay impact structure has found evidence that the subsurface may become more habitable after a large impactRead More...
50 Years of Robotic Planetary Exploration: Yvonne Pendleton (Director at NASA's Lunar Science Institute)
50 Years of Robotic Planetary Exploration: Yvonne Pendleton (Director at NASA's Lunar Science Institute)
We asked them and here is what the experts had to say about the last 50 years of planetary robotic exploration.Read More...
50 Years of Robotic Planetary Exploration: Michelle Thaller (Assistant Director of Science for Communications at the Goddard Space Flight Center)
50 Years of Robotic Planetary Exploration: Michelle Thaller (Assistant Director of Science for Communications at the Goddard Space Flight Center)
We asked them and here is what the experts had to say about the last 50 years of planetary robotic exploration.Read More...
50 Years of Robotic Planetary Exploration: Jeff Cuzzi (Research Scientist at NASA Ames Research Center)
50 Years of Robotic Planetary Exploration: Jeff Cuzzi (Research Scientist at NASA Ames Research Center)
We asked them and here is what the experts had to say about the last 50 years of planetary robotic exploration.Read More...
Mission to Land on a Comet
Mission to Land on a Comet
Europe's Rosetta spacecraft is en route to intercept a comet­--and to make history. In 2014, Rosetta will enter orbit around 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and land a probe on it for a front row seat as the comet heads toward the heat of the sun.Read More...
Comet Corpses in the Solar Wind
Comet Corpses in the Solar Wind
A paper published in today's issue of Science raises an intriguing new possibility for astronomers: unearthing comet corpses in the solar wind. The new research is based on dramatic images of a comet disintegrating in the sun's atmosphere last July.Read More...
Ices of the Universe
Ices of the Universe
On January 24, 2011, Dr. Murthy Gudipati, scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory presented "Ices of the Universe," a lecture focusing on ices found in the solar system, including nitrogen ice on Triton, carbon dioxide ice on Mars, and moreRead More...
50 Years of Robotic Planetary Exploration: Peter Jenniskens (Research Scientist at the SETI Institute and NASA Ames Research Center)
50 Years of Robotic Planetary Exploration: Peter Jenniskens (Research Scientist at the SETI Institute and NASA Ames Research Center)
We asked them and here is what the experts had to say about the last 50 years of planetary robotic exploration.Read More...
Comet Lovejoy Plunges into the Sun ... and Survives
Comet Lovejoy Plunges into the Sun ... and Survives
Sungrazing Comet Lovejoy has shocked astronomers by surviving its "death plunge" into the sun. Must-see movies of the comet's passage through the sun's atmosphere are featured in today's story from Science@NASA.Read More...
Meteors from Halley's Comet
Meteors from Halley's Comet
Looking for an adventure? Get up in the wee hours of the morning May 6th and head out into the country, far from the city lights. You won't be alone. The birds will be up and singing about the coming dawn, and about the eta Aquarid meteor shower.Read More...
Stardust-NExT Mission Delivers Striking Images of Man-Made Crater on Comet Tempel 1
Stardust-NExT Mission Delivers Striking Images of Man-Made Crater on Comet Tempel 1
The spacecraft made its closest approach to Comet Tempel 1 on Monday, Feb. 14, at 8:40 p.m. PST (11:40 p.m. EST) at a distance of approximately 178 kilometers (111 miles). Stardust took 72 high-resolution images of the comet.Read More...
The Two Faces of Tempel 1
The Two Faces of Tempel 1
Whichever part of comet Tempel 1 is facing toward Stardust when the spacecraft zips by the comet tonight should provide some great new science.Read More...
Five Things About NASA's Valentine's Day Comet
Five Things About NASA's Valentine's Day Comet
Here are five facts you should know about NASA's Stardust-NExT spacecraft as it prepares for a Valentine's "date" with comet Tempel 1. Feel free to sing along!Read More...
NASA Spacecraft Closes in on Comet Tempel 1
NASA Spacecraft Closes in on Comet Tempel 1
NASA is about to discover how solar heat devours a comet as the Stardust-NExT probe closes in for a Valentine's Day encounter with Tempel 1.Read More...
The Man Behind Comet Hartley 2
The Man Behind Comet Hartley 2
Twenty-four years ago, Malcolm Hartley discovered a comet. Recently, he watched as a NASA spacecraft visited it up close.Read More...
WISE Captures Key Images that will help EPOXI Mission's Comet Encounter
WISE Captures Key Images that will help EPOXI Mission's Comet Encounter
NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, caught a glimpse of the comet that the NASA's EPOXI mission will visit on November 4, 2010. The WISE observation will help the EPOXI team put together a large-scale picture of the comet.Read More...
NASA Spacecraft Hurtles Toward Active Comet Hartley 2
NASA Spacecraft Hurtles Toward Active Comet Hartley 2
NASA's Deep Impact/EPOXI spacecraft is hurtling toward Comet Hartley 2 for a breathtaking 435-mile flyby on Nov. 4th.Read More...
How to See the Best Meteor Showers
How to See the Best Meteor Showers
Whether you're watching from a downtown area or the dark countryside, here are some tips to help you enjoy these celestial shows of shooting stars.Read More...
EPOXI:  Deep Impact Flyby Spacecraft Extended Mission
EPOXI: Deep Impact Flyby Spacecraft Extended Mission
The EPOXI mission may help define how the Solar System originated and how it is evolving.Read More...
Get Involved with Stardust
Get Involved with Stardust
Internet users can help search for dust grains in Stardust's aerogel.Read More...
How to Bring a Comet Home
How to Bring a Comet Home
The Stardust spacecraft finally returned to Earth with some precious cargo.Read More...
Observing Stardust's Sample Return to Earth
Observing Stardust's Sample Return to Earth
NASA's Stardust Sample Return Capsule and Entry Path Visible in NorthwestRead More...
Observing Deep Impact's Comet Tempel 1
Observing Deep Impact's Comet Tempel 1
Viewing Comet Tempel OneRead More...
Apparition of Comet Hale-Bopp
Apparition of Comet Hale-Bopp
In an era where the celestial realm was the realm of the gods, the sudden appearance of an unknown object which dominated the night sky was terrifying.Read More...
Going for Maximum Impact
Going for Maximum Impact
Deep Impact's unique impactor is designed to blast a hole in a comet - possibly opening a window into our solar system's mysterious past.Read More...
Previous
Previous
    1     2     3     4     5    
Next
Next
    Show All
Previous
Previous
    1     2     3     4     5    
Next
Next
    Show All
Rosetta Comet Comes Alive
Rosetta Comet Comes Alive
A spacecraft from Earth is about to do something no spacecraft has ever done before: orbit a comet and land on its surface.Read More...
Comet ISON vs. the Solar Storm
Comet ISON vs. the Solar Storm
In 2007, astronomers were amazed when a solar storm hit comet Encke. The same thing could be in store for comet ISON -- only worse.Read More...
Two Comets to Fly By Mercury
Two Comets to Fly By Mercury
What are the odds? On Nov. 18th and 19th not one but two comets will fly by the planet Mercury.Read More...
Comet ISON: What's Next?
Comet ISON: What's Next?
Comet ISON is now inside the orbit of Earth as it plunges headlong toward the sun for a fiery close encounter on Nov. 28th. Although the comet is not yet as bright as many forecasters predicted, the comet is putting on a good show for observatories ...Read More...
Rosetta: 100 Days to Wake-Up
Rosetta: 100 Days to Wake-Up
ESA's comet-chasing mission Rosetta will wake up in 100 days' time from deep-space hibernation to reach the destination it has been cruising towards for a decade.Read More...
Amateur Astronomers See Comet ISON
Amateur Astronomers See Comet ISON
Anticipation is building as Comet ISON approaches the sun for a close encounter on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 28). No one knows if the blast of solar heating ISON receives will turn it into one of the finest comets in years -- or destroy the icy visitor.Read More...
BRRISON: A Planetary Science Balloon Mission
BRRISON: A Planetary Science Balloon Mission
This fall, NASA plans to launch a new balloon-based mission that will float to the edge of our atmosphere to observe a comet from the far reaches of the solar system.Read More...
Comet ISON to fly by Mars
Comet ISON to fly by Mars
Around the world, astronomers are buzzing with anticipation over the approach of Comet ISON.Read More...
A Timeline Of Comet ISON's Dangerous Journey
A Timeline Of Comet ISON's Dangerous Journey
A comet's journey through the solar system is perilous. Comet ISON is making that journey.Read More...
Comet ISON: What's in a Name?
Comet ISON: What's in a Name?
Credit for comet ISON's name goes to its discovers: Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novinchonok.Read More...
Noctilucent Clouds, Comets, and Meteor Showers
Noctilucent Clouds, Comets, and Meteor Showers
This summer northern skywatchers may be able to see Noctilucent or "Night Shining" Clouds. Also called PMCs (Polar Mesospheric Clouds), these apparitions are a bit of a puzzle for scientists because it is not entirely clear how they form.Read More...
Comet ISON Meteor Shower
Comet ISON Meteor Shower
Anticipation is building as Comet ISON plunges into the inner solar system for a close encounter with the sun in November 2013. Blasted at point-blank range by solar radiation, the sungrazer will likely become one of the finest comets in many years.Read More...
Collision Course? A Comet Heads for Mars
Collision Course? A Comet Heads for Mars
A comet is heading for Mars, and there is a chance that it might hit the Red Planet in October 2014. An impact wouldn't necessarily mean the end of NASA's Mars program. But it would transform the program along with Mars itself.Read More...
Sunset Comet
Sunset Comet
For a comet, visiting the sun is risky business. Fierce solar heat vaporizes gases long frozen in the fragile nucleus, breaking up some comets and completely destroying others.Read More...
Prime Time for PANSTARRS
Prime Time for PANSTARRS
This week is prime time for observing this comet. (Next opportunity, the year 108,013 +/- a few hundred or thousand years.)Read More...
A Possible Naked-eye Comet in March
A Possible Naked-eye Comet in March
An Oort Cloud comet could be heading our way now.Read More...
Comet of the Century?
Comet of the Century?
Later this year, "Comet ISON" could blossom into a striking naked eye object visible even in broad daylight.Read More...
50 Years of Robotic Planetary Exploration: Anita Cochran (Assistant Director of the McDonald Observatory and a Senior Research Scientist at the University of Texas at Austin)
Big Sun-Diving Comet Discovered
Big Sun-Diving Comet Discovered
Dr. Tony Phillips reports on his personal website -- spaceweather.com -- about a newly-discovered comet that may buzz the sun next year.Read More...
Impacts Could be Boon for Subterranean Life
Research... at a Glance
Impacts Could be Boon for Subterranean Life
A drilling project into the Chesapeake Bay impact structure has found evidence that the subsurface may become more habitable after a large impactRead More...
50 Years of Robotic Planetary Exploration: Yvonne Pendleton (Director at NASA's Lunar Science Institute)
50 Years of Robotic Planetary Exploration: Yvonne Pendleton (Director at NASA's Lunar Science Institute)
We asked them and here is what the experts had to say about the last 50 years of planetary robotic exploration.Read More...
50 Years of Robotic Planetary Exploration: Michelle Thaller (Assistant Director of Science for Communications at the Goddard Space Flight Center)
50 Years of Robotic Planetary Exploration: Michelle Thaller (Assistant Director of Science for Communications at the Goddard Space Flight Center)
We asked them and here is what the experts had to say about the last 50 years of planetary robotic exploration.Read More...
50 Years of Robotic Planetary Exploration: Jeff Cuzzi (Research Scientist at NASA Ames Research Center)
50 Years of Robotic Planetary Exploration: Jeff Cuzzi (Research Scientist at NASA Ames Research Center)
We asked them and here is what the experts had to say about the last 50 years of planetary robotic exploration.Read More...
Mission to Land on a Comet
Mission to Land on a Comet
Europe's Rosetta spacecraft is en route to intercept a comet­--and to make history. In 2014, Rosetta will enter orbit around 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and land a probe on it for a front row seat as the comet heads toward the heat of the sun.Read More...
Comet Corpses in the Solar Wind
Comet Corpses in the Solar Wind
A paper published in today's issue of Science raises an intriguing new possibility for astronomers: unearthing comet corpses in the solar wind. The new research is based on dramatic images of a comet disintegrating in the sun's atmosphere last July.Read More...
Ices of the Universe
Ices of the Universe
On January 24, 2011, Dr. Murthy Gudipati, scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory presented "Ices of the Universe," a lecture focusing on ices found in the solar system, including nitrogen ice on Triton, carbon dioxide ice on Mars, and moreRead More...
50 Years of Robotic Planetary Exploration: Peter Jenniskens (Research Scientist at the SETI Institute and NASA Ames Research Center)
50 Years of Robotic Planetary Exploration: Peter Jenniskens (Research Scientist at the SETI Institute and NASA Ames Research Center)
We asked them and here is what the experts had to say about the last 50 years of planetary robotic exploration.Read More...
Comet Lovejoy Plunges into the Sun ... and Survives
Comet Lovejoy Plunges into the Sun ... and Survives
Sungrazing Comet Lovejoy has shocked astronomers by surviving its "death plunge" into the sun. Must-see movies of the comet's passage through the sun's atmosphere are featured in today's story from Science@NASA.Read More...
Meteors from Halley's Comet
Meteors from Halley's Comet
Looking for an adventure? Get up in the wee hours of the morning May 6th and head out into the country, far from the city lights. You won't be alone. The birds will be up and singing about the coming dawn, and about the eta Aquarid meteor shower.Read More...
Stardust-NExT Mission Delivers Striking Images of Man-Made Crater on Comet Tempel 1
Stardust-NExT Mission Delivers Striking Images of Man-Made Crater on Comet Tempel 1
The spacecraft made its closest approach to Comet Tempel 1 on Monday, Feb. 14, at 8:40 p.m. PST (11:40 p.m. EST) at a distance of approximately 178 kilometers (111 miles). Stardust took 72 high-resolution images of the comet.Read More...
The Two Faces of Tempel 1
The Two Faces of Tempel 1
Whichever part of comet Tempel 1 is facing toward Stardust when the spacecraft zips by the comet tonight should provide some great new science.Read More...
Five Things About NASA's Valentine's Day Comet
Five Things About NASA's Valentine's Day Comet
Here are five facts you should know about NASA's Stardust-NExT spacecraft as it prepares for a Valentine's "date" with comet Tempel 1. Feel free to sing along!Read More...
NASA Spacecraft Closes in on Comet Tempel 1
NASA Spacecraft Closes in on Comet Tempel 1
NASA is about to discover how solar heat devours a comet as the Stardust-NExT probe closes in for a Valentine's Day encounter with Tempel 1.Read More...
The Man Behind Comet Hartley 2
The Man Behind Comet Hartley 2
Twenty-four years ago, Malcolm Hartley discovered a comet. Recently, he watched as a NASA spacecraft visited it up close.Read More...
WISE Captures Key Images that will help EPOXI Mission's Comet Encounter
WISE Captures Key Images that will help EPOXI Mission's Comet Encounter
NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, caught a glimpse of the comet that the NASA's EPOXI mission will visit on November 4, 2010. The WISE observation will help the EPOXI team put together a large-scale picture of the comet.Read More...
NASA Spacecraft Hurtles Toward Active Comet Hartley 2
NASA Spacecraft Hurtles Toward Active Comet Hartley 2
NASA's Deep Impact/EPOXI spacecraft is hurtling toward Comet Hartley 2 for a breathtaking 435-mile flyby on Nov. 4th.Read More...
How to See the Best Meteor Showers
How to See the Best Meteor Showers
Whether you're watching from a downtown area or the dark countryside, here are some tips to help you enjoy these celestial shows of shooting stars.Read More...
EPOXI:  Deep Impact Flyby Spacecraft Extended Mission
EPOXI: Deep Impact Flyby Spacecraft Extended Mission
The EPOXI mission may help define how the Solar System originated and how it is evolving.Read More...
Get Involved with Stardust
Get Involved with Stardust
Internet users can help search for dust grains in Stardust's aerogel.Read More...
How to Bring a Comet Home
How to Bring a Comet Home
The Stardust spacecraft finally returned to Earth with some precious cargo.Read More...
Observing Stardust's Sample Return to Earth
Observing Stardust's Sample Return to Earth
NASA's Stardust Sample Return Capsule and Entry Path Visible in NorthwestRead More...
Observing Deep Impact's Comet Tempel 1
Observing Deep Impact's Comet Tempel 1
Viewing Comet Tempel OneRead More...
Apparition of Comet Hale-Bopp
Apparition of Comet Hale-Bopp
In an era where the celestial realm was the realm of the gods, the sudden appearance of an unknown object which dominated the night sky was terrifying.Read More...
Going for Maximum Impact
Going for Maximum Impact
Deep Impact's unique impactor is designed to blast a hole in a comet - possibly opening a window into our solar system's mysterious past.Read More...
Previous
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