Similarities and Differences Comets and Asteroids

KOMPAS.comComet and asteroid is the name of a celestial body that is often heard in everyday life. Comets are different from asteroids, but they have something in common. What are the similarities and differences comet with asteroids?

Formed at the beginning of the formation of the solar system

Reported from Cool Cosmos, comets and asteroids were both formed in the early days of the formation of the solar system. That is, about 4.5 billion years ago.

Dark color

What comets and asteroids have in common is that they both have a dark color. The dark color of asteroids is produced by rocky and metallic materials. Meanwhile, the dark color of comets is produced by organic substances that coat the ice.

Also read: Comets, Tailed Stars in the Solar System

orbit the sun

Comets and asteroids are both celestial bodies that orbit the sun as the center of the solar system.

The position of the formation with respect to the sun

Even though they form at about the same time, comets and asteroids have different formation positions with respect to the sun.

Scientists predict that asteroids formed in areas closer to the sun. Meanwhile, comets form in areas farther from the sun where the comet-forming ice does not melt due to the heat of the sun.

Also read: Asteroids, Rocks in the Solar System

Composing materials

The next difference between comets and asteroids is the composition of their constituent materials.

Asteroid formed from rocky and metallic materials such as clay, silicate, iron, nickel, and balsatic lava.

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Meanwhile, comets are formed from ice covered with organic compounds, dust, and also rocky material.

The shape and trajectory of the orbit

The next difference between comets and asteroids is the shape and trajectory of their orbits. Reported from Universe Todaythe asteroid has a shorter and more circular orbit.

Meanwhile, comets have much longer orbits with a more elongated or elliptical shape. Where, comet orbits can be up to fifty thousand times longer than the distance from the earth to the sun.

Also read: What is an Orbit?

Comets have tails while asteroids don’t

The difference that can be seen from comets and asteroids is that comets have tails, while asteroids do not.

As the comet moves closer to the sun, the sun’s heat will melt and evaporate the ice content in it. Then, the vaporized ice, methane gas, ammonia gas will form a structure that surrounds the comet and is called a coma.

Reported from NASAthe pressure of the sun’s rays and high-speed solar particles (solar wind) make the coma material away from the sun.

Thus, two tails are formed away from the sun, namely the dust tail and the plasma tail of the ionized gas. Comet’s two tails

Also read: Characteristics and Characteristics of Members of the Solar System

There are more asteroids than comets

The next difference between comets and asteroids lies in their number. Asteroids have various sizes, from large to very small.

Scientists estimate that there are between one and 1.9 million large asteroids in the solar system. And millions of tiny asteroids that are hard to count.

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Meanwhile, scientists have just discovered about 4,584 comets in our solar system.


The difference between comets and asteroids also lies in the location where they are found. Most asteroids are found in the asteroid belt, which orbits between the planets Mars and Jupiter.

Also read: Jupiter, the Giant Planet in the Solar System

Others were found in the Trojan, which is in the orbit of the planet Jupiter. The rest of the asteroids are scattered throughout the solar system.

The asteroid belt and trojans are where asteroids are found in the solar The asteroid belt and trojans are where asteroids are found in the solar system

Meanwhile, most comets are found in the Oort cloud and the Kuiper belt. An oort cloud is a region about a hundred thousand times the distance from the earth to the sun. Comets in the Oort cloud have a very long evolutionary period of up to 30 million years.

Meanwhile, the Kuiper belt is the region that is closer to the sun, which is about 30 to 55 times the distance from the earth to the sun. Comets in the Kuiper belt have a faster evolutionary period than those found in the Oort cloud.

Kuiper belt and Oort cloud where comets are Kuiper belt and Oort cloud where comets are found

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