Comet forms

Comet forms

. Three kinds of comet shapes. Comet Perrine (1902 III) shows a transparent coma and tail (left), Comet Finsler (1937 V) exhibits a coma and tail that are unsymmetrical (center), and Comet Morehouse (1908 III) is remarkable for the rapid variations in the structure of its tail (right). When a telescope follows a comet, stars move across the field of view, producing numerous short star trails. [Courtesy of the Royal Observatory Greenwich (left and right) and the Norman Lockyer Observatory (center).]

Copyright 2010, Professor Kenneth R. Lang, Tufts University