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On May 19, 1910 the Earth passed through the tail of Halley’s Comet, the closest the earth has ever come to a comet during recorded human history. The word comet is an English noun like the word planet that comes from an Ancient Greek adjective. The word comet came from Early French (circa 1200) comète via the Ancient Greek (aster) kometes which meant a (star) with long hair. The adjective kometes came from the Ancient Greek word kome meaning a head of hair. Like planet, the word for star was dropped and only the modifier remained. A comet is defined as a celestial body in the solar system, usually with an eccentric orbit, corona and tail.
Image of Halley’s Comet from May 29, 1910 in the public domain.
Image of Schumacher Levey impacting Jupiter courtesy NASA/Hubble Comet Team.
Image of Hale-Bopp courtesy Phillip Salzgeber.
Image of comet Tempel 1 approximately 5 minutes before Deep Impact’s probe smashed into its surface, courtesy NASA/JPL/CalTech.