Comets are like cats…

Comets are like cats; they have tails, and they do precisely what they want.

— David H. Levy

Six tailed comet

Hubble photo of a comet sprouting six comet-like tails

I heard this on the radio this afternoon—probably a podcast, actually, of Science Friday from last week or possibly even the week before. I’m behind on my radio/podcast listening. I’ll admit.

However, it was a fun discussion on how nature seems to despise oversimplification. We called all the rocky debris orbiting the sun asteroids and all the icy debris comets. And then last month we saw an asteroid hurtling through the sky with six comet-like tails. Go figure.

It is good to know that scientists can crack a decent joke every now and then—or at least be aware of the finer qualities of cats. Since cats, in fact, do exactly what they want.

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