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List of comets

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This is a list of some comets in the solar system.

Periodic comets visit us again and again. Non-periodic comets visit us only once. On this list there is a "P" in front of the periodic comets. In front of non-periodic comets there is a "C". There is sometimes a number in front of the "P": it shows the number of times people saw the periodic comet visiting us.

Comets we usually know by a name

Periodic comets

Periodic comets have a special place in astronomy, because their orbits are often the same. We know when they will visit us, and we can plan to watch them, and send space probes to look at them.

On August 24, 1994, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) standardized the way we give names to this type of comets. It made a system of letters and numbers (and sometimes a name). This system tells us which comet is which. The IAU chose the letter P for periodic comets and D for periodic comets that were lost or which broke into pieces. Other letters are C for non-periodic comets, and X for comets where we do not know their orbits. It also allows for type changes by using A for objects people say are asteroids. Each name starts with a number, counting up and make the name unique: no two comets have the same name.