Meteor showers are the dazzling result of cometary debris building up along well-worn paths through the solar system, then burning up in Earth's atmosphere as our planet crosses that dust trail.
Comets are remnants from the early days of the solar system, billions of years ago. Primarily made of ice and dust, these "dirty snowballs" orbit the sun and in habit the Oort cloud, an area in the outskirts of the solar system beyond Pluto. As comets approach the inner solar system, solar wind from the sun can sweep dust back into a long tail. When these comets are close enough to Earth, they can appear as dazzling objects in the night sky. Space probes from Earth have visited several comets to learn more about their composition. Learn more about comets, icy wanderers in the solar system.
Metal atoms have surprisingly been discovered in the frigid atmosphere of the first known interstellar comet to visit our solar system, a new study finds.
A never-before-seen meteor shower will sprinkle tiny pieces of comet dust over Earth's southernmost regions later this year.
China has selected a Russian science payload to fly on an upcoming mission to sample a near-Earth asteroid and later visit a main-belt comet.
The first known interstellar comet to visit our solar system may be the most pristine ever found, never passing near a star until visiting our own, researchers say.
A new comet is on its way in toward the sun, with prospects that it may become bright enough to see with the unaided eye by year's end.
Researchers spotted an object strangely outgassing far from the sun — like a comet — during a long road trip through our solar system that could conclude in interstellar space, NASA says.
The chunk of space rock that killed the nonavian dinosaurs may have been a piece of a comet that Jupiter's gravity kicked onto a collision course with Earth.
Looking closely at eclipse images, stargazers can spot a newfound Kreutz sungrazer comet that zoomed by the Sun during Chile and Argentina's solar eclipse.
This year saw a new age of sample-retrieval missions, protests against a telescope, an incredible visit from a dazzling comet and the ''great conjunction'' of Saturn and Jupiter.
Scientists have found the second place where a bouncing European lander touched down on Comet 67P six years ago, and the discovery is shedding light on the icy wanderer's composition.
Planets aren't the only things in the solar system with auroras. Comets can have them too, data from the European Space Agency's Rosetta mission has revealed.
The Hubble Space Telescope turned its powerful eyes to a celestial visitor to our skies — Comet NEOWISE, which put on a stunning show in the United States earlier this summer.
The brightest comet to appear in Northern Hemisphere skies in nearly a quarter of a century will soon be ending its run as a naked-eye object.
Skywatchers the world over are buzzing about Comet NEOWISE, the first easily-visible comet to appear in years. Your favorite mobile astronomy app can tell you when, where and how to look for it.
The gorgeous image shows Comet NEOWISE blazing above a Falcon 9 rocket that's poised to launch South Korea's first military satellite today (July 20).