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Interactive video lesson plan for: What is a Comet?

Activity overview:

Nigel Goes to Space

Join Nigel as he takes you on his journey to the stars and beyond!

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Often referred to as dirty snowballs, Nigel discusses comets, what they are, where they come from, and how they have inspired dread, fear, and awe in many cultures.

Comets always capture the imagination, from Hale-Bopp, the Great Comet of 1997, to Halley's Comet that was probed up close by the Giotto spacecraft in 1986. Currently we have the ESA’s Rosetta mission which managed the first successful landing on a comet, 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

A comet is a small icy Solar System body that, when passing close to the Sun, heats up and begins to outgas, displaying a visible atmosphere or coma, and sometimes also a tail. These phenomena are due to the effects of solar radiation and the solar wind upon the nucleus of the comet. Comet nuclei range from a few hundred metres to tens of kilometres across and are composed of loose collections of ice, dust, and small rocky particles.

Nigel is an internationally acclaimed science populariser and author, specialising in astronomy and space.

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