Comets worksheet other worksheets
for use with materialworlds Comet simulation - one of the Solar System simulations
© 2002

See the comet notes and links

1. How does the comet's orbit differ from the planets'?

a) How does the speed of the comet change through its orbit?
b) Where does the comet spend the most time?
c) Where does the comet spend the least time?

a) How long does its orbit take?
b) How does this compare to actual comets?

4. At about 22.5 years into the simulation something happens to the comet.
a) What is it, and what has caused it?
b) How does this event affect the comet?

5. For background information for this question see:
Astronomy Notes on comets -
and "nine planets" Solar system data -

a) How does the mass of a typical comet compare with the masses of different planets?
b) How does this affect the interactions between the comet and planets?
c) Which planets is the comet likely to be most affected by - and why?

6. Why is this comet's orbit unstable? What sort of orbits would be more stable?

7. What things might happen to the comet in the future?

8. What apart from gravity can affect the motion of a comet?

In web pages about comet Hale-Bopp some say its orbital period is 4000 years, others 2380 years. Why might this be?