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Living on a Comet: 'Dirty Snowball' Facts Explained (Infographic)

Chart shows conditions on Halley's Comet.
Halley's Comet, a dusty ball of ice and frozen gases, spends most of its time in the chilly outland of the solar system. (Image credit: By Karl Tate, Infographics Artist)

A comet is a mountain of ice and dust, tumbling through space. When a comet approaches the sun, its ices sublimate (turn from solid to gas). Vapor, dust and gases stream out to form a hazy tail behind the comet.

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Karl Tate

Karl's association with Space.com goes back to 2000, when he was hired to produce interactive Flash graphics. From 2010 to 2016, Karl worked as an infographics specialist across all editorial properties of Purch (formerly known as TechMediaNetwork).  Before joining Space.com, Karl spent 11 years at the New York headquarters of The Associated Press, creating news graphics for use around the world in newspapers and on the web.  He has a degree in graphic design from Louisiana State University and now works as a freelance graphic designer in New York City.