Presented by Richard Bell, President of the Kalamazoo Astronomical Society
Comets are made up of some of the original material from which the solar system formed. Orbiting far from the Sun, this primordial material has survived in an unaltered state for billions of years. When a comet nucleus is gravitationally drawn into the inner solar system it begins to heat up.
The volatile materials from which it is made boil off to form the head and tail(s) that have amazed, baffled, and frightened people throughout history. This tremendous light show is produced from just the small solid nucleus measuring only 1 to 20 miles in diameter. Think of it as a large dirty snowball! Help Richard Bell make an accurate model of a comet nucleus by using common household items (and a little dry ice) and learn a little something in the process. It’s fun, messy, and one of the most memorable and scientifically accurate demonstrations in astronomy.