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David Gould asked the Naked Scientists: Does a comet like Halley's gain mass as it passes through the Kuiper belt, or will it eventually evaporate?What do you think?
But do they gain any mass along the way? That is, although the net outcome is evaporation or sublimation, do they also gain material during any phase of their lives?
Comet Halley was named after Edmund Halley, who first determined that comets are objects that return to the inner solar system on periodic bases and are therefore predictable. He did not discover the comet that is named after him, but because he "demystified" comets, the comet whose orbit he determined and whose return he predicted is named after him. The comet came by the inner part of the solar system in 1986 and won't come back again until 2061. Its passage in 1986 wasn't very spectacular, and the 2061 trip will probably not be very good either. This comet has gone around the Sun quite a few times, so it has been getting smaller and less spectacular with each passage.