Learn what comets are and how they inform us about the early solar system, in this video adapted from NASA. Comets, which are made of frozen gases, ice, dust, and rock, are typically in a deep freeze in the outer solar system. But when a comet nears the Sun, it loses streams of gases and forms a coma (a thin, temporary atmosphere at its head) and a tail. Dr. Paul Chodas, a research scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory explains that comets—unlike planets, which have undergone significant processing—contain original materials from when the solar system formed and can inform us about the conditions of the early solar system.
This video is available in both English and Spanish audio, along with corresponding closed captions. This resource is part of the NASA Planetary Sciences Collection.
Adapted from Real World: "Comets - It's Done with Math"/NASA.