haste-ye donbâledâr (#)
Fr.: noyau de comète
The solid, centrally located part of a → comet. The nucleus is a mass of dust and frozen gases. When heated by the → Sun, the gases sublimate and produce an atmosphere surrounding the nucleus known as the → coma, which is later swept into an elongated tail. Reliable measurements of cometary nuclei indicate sizes from a few km to 10 or 20 km. The nucleus of → Comet Hale-Bopp is one of the largest (perhaps 40 km). The composition of the nucleus is determined by measuring the composition of the coma (except for 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko). The dominant → volatile is → water, followed by → carbon dioxide (CO2), → carbon monoxide (CO), → formaldehyde (H2CO), → methanol (CH3OH), → methane (CH4) at a few percent level (with respect to water) and many other molecules at a lower level.