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Comets: Small Bodies / Big Impacts
Educational Resources

Type Link Description
Recorded Presentation Previous Understandings about Comets Cosmic Dust Expert Dr. Mike Zolensky discusses the science of comets in this presentation, broken out into four parts. This is Part 1.
Recorded Presentation Sample Return from Comet Wild 2 Part 2
Recorded Presentation Interpreting Spectra Part 3
Recorded Presentation Education and Public Outreach Part 4
Transcript Complete Transcript (Word, 50 KB) Word document transcript.

Type Link Description
Downloadable Product Comets Lithograph (new window) Comet handout.
Downloadable Products Cool, Curious Comets
Puzzles and Games
Handouts from comet missions.
Downloadable Product Kuiper Belt and Oort Cloud Lithograph (new window) Kuiper Belt and Oort Cloud handout.
Downloadable Product Comets vs. Asteroids Fact Sheet (PDF, 1.3 MB) This colorful illustrated document compares and describes comets and asteroids at a level appropriate for older children and adults.
Webpage Where is Stardust Now? Find the spacecraft's present position.
Webpage Where is Tempel 1 Now? Find the comet's present position.
Missions Database Missions to Comets (new window) A gallery of all the missions that have visited comets.
Suggested Image Comet Siding Spring Comet Siding Spring appears to streak across the sky like a superhero in this new infrared image from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE. The comet, also known as C/2007 Q3, was discovered in 2007 by observers in Australia.
Suggested Image Comet 73P/Schwassman-Wachmann 3 This infrared image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows the broken Comet 73P/Schwassman-Wachmann 3 skimming along a trail of debris left during its multiple trips around the Sun. The flame-like objects are the comet's fragments and their tails, while the dusty comet trail is the line bridging the fragments.
Suggested Image Tempel 1 Composite Map This composite image of Comet Temple 1 was built up from scaling all images to 5 meters/pixel, and aligning images to fixed points. Each image at closer range, replaced equivalent locations observed at a greater distance. The impact site has the highest resolution because images were acquired until about 4 sec from impact or a few meters from the surface.
Suggested Image Comet C/2001 Q4 (NEAT) (new window) This image of Comet C/2001 Q4 (NEAT) was taken at the WIYN 0.9-meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory near Tucson, Ariz., on May 7, 2004.
Suggested Image Artist's View of Wild 2 This is an artist's concept depicting a view of Comet Wild 2 as seen from NASA's Stardust spacecraft during its flyby of the comet on Jan. 2, 2004.
Suggested Image Comet McNaught (new window) This image of Comet McNaught was captured by the European Southern Observatory in Chile as both the comet and the Sun were setting over the Pacific Ocean. The ocean surface appears nearly flat at this distance.
Suggested Image P/Shoemaker-Levy 9 Comet Impacts on Jupiter (new window) Color Image of Multiple P/Shoemaker-Levy 9 Comet Impacts on Jupiter from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope's Planetary Camera. Eight impact sights are visible.
Suggested Image Comet P/Shoemaker-Levy 9 Fragments (new window) Last panoramic mosaic of comet P/Shoemaker-Levy 9 (SL-9) taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. The comet had broken into 21 fragments, all of which impacted Jupiter in mid-July of 1994. This image was taken on 17 May 1994 through the red filter of the Wide-Field Planetary Camera 2. At this time, the comet was about 660 million km from Earth. The comet fragments stretch across 1.1 million km of space.
Suggested Image Comet NEAT vs. the Sun (new window) This image shows a stream of charged particles -- called a coronal mass ejection -- hurtling towards Comet NEAT (the bright area on the right) during its spectacular close encounter with our Sun.
Podcast I "Heart" Hartley 2! The Eastern Seaboard of the US is all too familiar with snow and has probably seen more than enough dirty snowballs! But cometary scientists are eager for more. With the successful completion of the Stardust and Deep Impact missions, NASA had two working spacecraft that they re-purposed. The Stardust spacecraft will fly past Comet Tempel 1 (the target of the Deep Impact mission in 2005) in Feb 2011. The Deep Impact spacecraft flew past Comet Hartley 2 in Nov 2010. What do we know about this comet? How does it compare to other comets?
Podcast Interesting Comets Get to know a few well-known comets and the history of man's interaction with them.
Podcast What is the Kuiper Belt? Susan Murph from the How to Grow Your Geek Podcast and her children Amanda and Kevin discuss Pluto and the Kuiper Belt.
Podcast Hayabusa A brief history of the seven-year mission of the little spacecraft that could Hyabusa -- before the final step in its mission.
Video SOHO Movie: Comet NEAT Comet NEAT from SOHO
Video SOHO Movie: Comet Hyakutake Comet Hyakutake from SOHO
Video Origin of Comets Origin of Comets
Video Discovery Channel Video Hale-Bopp / SOHO / Shoemaker-Levy 9
Video Discovery Channel Video Shoemaker-Levy 9
Video Deep Impact Movie No. 1 Deep Impact
Video Cook Up a Comet This Night Sky Network video shows the Cook Up a Comet activity -- a nice option for watching when no dry ice is available. It gives insight into the "dirty snowball" model of comets -- composed of material from the early solar system in the form of frozen water and gases, simple organic compounds, and dust.
Interactive Bright Tails, Black Hearts: Exploration of Comets Learn about the parts of a comet, its orbit and the missions that study them.
Interactive Deep Impact Science Results Learn about Deep Impact's science results.
Network Solar System Ambassadors The Solar System Ambassadors is a nation-wide network of volunteers who are trained to communicate the excitement of NASA's space exploration missions and recent discoveries to people in their local communities.
Network Museum Alliance The Museum Alliance is a network of museums, science centers, planetariums, observatories, parks, NASA visitor centers, nature centers, zoos, and aquariums that bring current NASA science and technology to their visitors through professional development of their staff and access to NASA staff, content and materials.
Network Amateur Observers' Program Originally put together to support NASA's Discovery mission Deep Impact, the AOP is continuing and expanding. We are observing the asteroids Vesta and Ceres in support of the NASA Discovery mission Dawn and comet Hartley 2 in support of EPOXI.
Network Night Sky Network This site can connect you to amateur astronomy clubs, events, a night sky planner, and more.
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Last Updated: 12 Sep 2014