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Solar system
Comet Halley

Halley is perhaps the most famous comet in history. This is the comet that proved correct Edmund Halley's prediction that it would reappear. It is responsible for depositing the debris that, when falling through Earth's atmosphere, causes the Orionid meteor showers.


About the same age as the Sun: 4.5 billion years


Outer solar system, in the Kuiper Belt

Avg. distance from the Sun

It has a highly elongated orbit that takes it very close to the Sun and then flings it out into the outer solar system, well past the orbit of Pluto.


The size of the nucleus has been estimated to be 15 km x 7 km x 7 km (or 9 mi x 4 mi x 4 mi).


1.7 x 1015 kilograms

Orbital period around the Sun

76 Earth years

Comet Halley (image courtesy of NASA)

Enlarge Image


"Fast Facts: Comet Halley" is a table that lists the comet's age, location, average distance from the Sun, diameter, mass, orbital period around the Sun, and distinguishing features. A picture of the comet is included.

Printer-friendly web page
Adaptable, at teacher's discretion
How to use in the classroom

Use this resource as:

A source of information. Read the table to find out about this object.

A large-number recognition activity. Have students review several solar system Fast Fact tables, including this one. Ask them to place the objects described in the Fast Fact tables in order, starting with the object closest to Earth and ending with the one farthest away. Students can arrange the Sun, planets, asteroids, and comets from smallest to largest mass and/or diameter.

A compare/contrast activity. Have students review several Fast Facts tables for asteroids and comets. Students can create graphic organizers comparing the features of asteroids with those of comets.

An inquiry tool. Have students write down questions they would like answered about the image and the information in the Fast Facts table.

An engagement tool. Involve students in a discussion.

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