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Deep Impact Mission Science Technology Mission Results Gallery Education Discovery Zone Your Community Press Discovery Zone - Name That Game

Name That Game!

Here's a game you can play if you learn some fun comet facts. First take a look at Comet Facts.

Girls at a birthday party in Bethesda, Maryland called it Pin the Tail on the Comet. As you can see, they first drew the outline of a comet nucleus on a poster board and then used strips of crepe paper of different colors to represent the tails of a comet. Just as in the popular party game, Pin the Tail on the Donkey, they put on blind folds and taped the tail to the comet. Someone obviously told them where the Sun is with respect to the motion of the comet. Can you figure out where it is?

Pin the Tail on the Comet (click to enlarge) Pin the Tail on the Comet (click to enlarge)

How can you tell where the sun is in relation to the tail of a comet?

Here's the answer: The Sun warms the surface of a comet. Gas, rocky debris and dust burst out of the comet forming the coma. The Sun's solar wind forces the coma back away from the direction of the sun, and a tail is formed. As long as the comet reacts in this way it will have a tail that is flowing away from the Sun. Can you tell now where to put the Sun on your game and which side of the comet should get the tails?

Want more comet fun at your party? Try these party refreshments and activities.

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