A ball of rock and ice, often referred to as a “dirty
snowball.” Typically a few kilometers in diameter, comets orbit the Sun
in paths that either allow them to pass by the Sun only once or that repeatedly
bring them through the solar system (as in the 76-year orbit of Halley's Comet).
A comet’s “signature” long, glowing tail is formed when the Sun’s
heat warms the coma or nucleus, which releases vapors into space.