A comet is a small Solar System body that orbits the Sun and, when close enough to the Sun, exhibits a visible coma (atmosphere) or a tail — both primarily from the effects of solar radiation upon the comet's nucleus. Comet nuclei are themselves loose collections of ice, dust and small rocky particles, measuring a few kilometres or tens of kilometres across.
Comets have a variety of different orbital periods, ranging from a few years, to hundreds of thousands of years, while some are believed to pass through the inner Solar System only once before being thrown out into interstellar space.