Comets

Comets are balls of rock, dust, and gas. Comets, like Rosetta and Neowise can put on spectacular shows in the night sky, with a drifting tail behind it. 

Video Courtesy European Space Agency - ESA

Comet Neowise

A view of Comet Neowise from the International Space Station is shown below. Comet Neowise, which is only visible about every 6,800 years, was closest to Earth on July 22-23, 2020.  Build a comet model to commemorate Comet Neowise!  For more information about Comet Neowise, go here.

Image Courtesy NASA

Comet Model Build

Build a comet model to commemorate Comet Neowise!  

The colors of the ribbon in the comet model

represent the different parts of a comet, as shown below:

Image Courtesy NASA

Above diagram for ribbon on comet model courtesy of NASA

Materials
  • Aluminum Foil

  • Chopstick (or similar item)

  • Tape

  • Scissor

  • Ribbon (3 different colors: preferably metallic silver, gold and red)

  • Printable cutout for this activity (found at the bottom of Cosmoto's Week 4 Site Page)

Step 1

Cut the gold ribbon in two different lengths - one medium length (about 2 feet) and a second ribbon that is longer (about 3 feet).  

 

Cut the silver ribbon in the same way that you cut the gold ribbon, so that you also have a medium (about 2 feet) and long (about 3 feet) silver ribbon.

 

Cut the red ribbon shorter to about 1 foot in length.

(The ribbon colors can be substituted with different colors.  The length of each ribbon can be shorter, but their proportionate length to the other ribbon colors should be kept about the same.)

Once all the ribbon is cut, tie the ribbon near the tip of the popsicle stick or the pointed end of a chopstick.

Step 2

Cut the aluminum foil into a square piece as pictured below.  Place the center of the aluminum foil square piece around the pointed end of the chopstick/popsicle stick, while holding the ribbon away from the foil.  Shape the aluminum foil into a ball around the stick.  Repeat this process two more times with other square pieces of foil to make a bigger ball.  Wrap a long piece of tape around both the bottom of the ball and the stick to further secure the aluminum ball in place.

Step 3

Cut out the rectangular box on the cutout sheet. Wrap it around the chopstick/popsicle stick, then tape it in place.

You have now completed your model of Comet Neowise! Each color of ribbon represents a different part of the comet. In this model, the red ribbon represents the coma, the silver ribbon represents the dust tail, and the gold ribbon represents the gas tail.

When you have a chance this week, look right above the northwest horizon after sundown to find Comet Neowise.  It should be right below the Big Dipper.

Images of Pillars of Creation, Future Mars Base, Curiosity Rover, Milky Way, Moon, and International Space Station are courtesy of NASA. Image of Earth's atmosphere courtesy of Science Museum of Exploration.