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A comet is an icy small solar system body (sssb) that, when close enough to the sun, displays a visible coma (a thin, fuzzy, temporary atmosphere) and sometimes also a tail. these phenomena are both due to the effects of solar radiation and the solar wind upon the nucleus of the comet. comet nuclei range from a few hundred meters to tens of kilometers across and are composed of loose collections of ice, dust, and small rocky particles. comets have been observed since ancient times.