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Comet Missions Reading Answers: IELTS Reading Practice Test

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Updated on Jul 02, 2024, 11:57

The Comet Missions is a reading passage in the IELTS Reading section. It discusses the nature and behaviour of comets that appear in our skies and the challenges of observing them. 

 

The passage also emphasises the importance of managing time effectively during a reading comprehension activity or exam. The passage suggests spending approximately 20 minutes answering Questions 1-13 based on the information provided.

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1. Comet Missions Reading Passage

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 1-13 based on Reading Passage 1 below.

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2. Comet Mission Reading Questions & Answers

Have you read the passage? Now, take the test and find Comet Mission Reading answers! Try to answer these questions by yourself before you sneak a peek at the answers given below. 

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1.

Comet Missions Reading Passage

General Instructions to Follow During the IELTS Reading Test

The following instructions will help you save time and improve your scores in the Comet Missions reading questions and answers.

  • Pay attention to the instructions given before the questions. Read it carefully and understand what’s being asked of you.
  • The reading passages are typically ordered with slightly increasing difficulty levels. To save time, try to answer the most challenging parts first.
  • Keep an eye on the clock. Every IELTS Exam centre has a clock on the wall. Watch it to stay ahead of your time limit.
  • Use skimming and scanning techniques and scan for keywords to answer questions.

 

 

 

 

Comet Missions Reading Passage


 

A. Comets arrive to grace our skies every year; some are new to the inner Solar System, and some are old friends on a repeat visit, but only comparatively rarely do they reach sufficient brightness to become apparent to the unaided eye.

 

B. Comets do not behave like any other object that we can observe in the night sky with the unaided eye. Stars remain fixed in the pattern of their constellations and are regular in their motion through the sky from one night to the next and from one month to the next. A planet follows a fairly slow but expected path. By comparison, a comet is a totally different kind of event: it will appear unexpectedly and at any place in the sky, it will change position from one night to the next relative to the background of stars, and its path will be along a separate direction and path across the sky from the planets and stars. During the few weeks or months that it is observable, it will first steadily increase in brightness from one night to the next, may change its shape – growing bigger, longer or extra tails – and then wane to invisibility, never to be seen again. Throughout history, comets have always signified evil, war and death, and they were supposed to leave chaos and calamity in their wake. Indeed, the astrologers of their day have blamed plenty of past comets for bringing or marking misfortune.

 

C. There have been many spectacular comets throughout history; on average, we are visited by what is termed a ‘great comet’ about three times a century. This appellation is saved for those comets that reach exceptional brightness. The most famous of all comets is Halley’s comet; not that it is the most spectacular, but the study of its orbit by the English astronomer Edmond Halley was fundamental to pinning down the real nature of comets. During the 17th century, Halley used Newton’s new calculus mathematics to characterise the orbits of twenty-four comets from sightings recorded over the previous four centuries. He realised that the orbital path of the bright comet recently seen in 1682 was very similar to that followed by two other comets – one observed in 1531 and one in 1607. All moved in a retrograde direction (i.e. opposite to the revolution of the planets round the Sun), following an elliptical orbit that had a similar orientation to the plane of the planet’s motion. The great comet of 1456 was also known to have travelled in a retrograde direction. Halley’s inspiration was to realise that these were four apparitions of the same comet, following a set path around the Sun, but which only became apparent to observers on Earth when its orbit returned the comet to the inner Solar System, after an interval of about 76 years. Although he did not live to see the success of his prediction of the comet’s return in 1758, when the comet was spotted on schedule, it was given his name. Subsequently, at least 23 previous appearances of Halley’s comet have been identified from historical records, the first known being from a Chinese text dating from 240 BC.

 

D. The nucleus is the sole solid component of a comet, and the only part that is always present. It resembles a dark-coloured iceberg; it is a frozen chunk of ice ranging between 5 to 20 km in size, and with a somewhat irregular shape. The ice is not just water ice, but also contains the ices of frozen ammonia, carbon dioxide, methane and carbon monoxide. The ices are blackened, as they contain small fragments of dust embedded within them, and the whole nucleus is of a low density, suggesting it to be a partially porous body. When travelling along the outer reaches of its orbit, far from the Sun, the nucleus remains frozen and dormant. As soon as its path brings the icy block into the inner Solar system, it begins to warm up and its surface becomes active. The solid ice turns directly into gas, in a process known as ‘sublimation,’ and is liberated from the surface. The process is particularly apparent on the sunward flank of the nucleus, where the gases escape as jets, particularly through any fissures that open up in the structure. These jets also push out the particles of solid dust that are embedded in the ice.

 

E. The closer an orbit brings a nucleus to the Sun, the warmer it becomes, and the more spectacular tails are generated with them, sometimes being visible during the day. There are two types of comet tails: dust and gas ion. A dust tail contains small, solid particles that are about the same size as those found in cigarette smoke. This tail forms because sunlight pushes on these small particles, gently shoving them away from the comet’s nucleus. Because the pressure from sunlight is relatively weak, the dust particles end up forming a diffuse curved tail in the direction of the comet’s orbit. A gas ion tail forms when ultraviolet sunlight rips one or more electrons from gas atoms in the coma, making them into ions. The solar wind then carries these ions straight outward away from the Sun. As a comet heads away from the Sun, its tails dissipate, and the matter contained in its nucleus freezes into a rock-like material.

2.

Comet Mission Reading Questions & Answers

Have you read the passage? Now, take the test and find Comet Mission Reading answers! 
 

Leap to Learn: Tip of the Moment!

Remember, most of these questions follow the order of the passage, so it’s easy to trace back if you look through the paragraphs sequentially.

 

Try to answer these questions by yourself before you sneak a peek at the answers given below. 
 

Good luck! 

Questions and Answers 1-5
  • Complete the summary using the words in the box below.
  • Write your answers in boxes 1-5 on your answer sheet.

 

Comet Mission

 

Comets are quite common in our solar system, but they are seldom (1) …………….. Comets be have differently to other sky objects; they are seemingly quite (2) ……………. in their movements, and (3) …………….. Comets have often been seen as predicting (4) …………….. Halley’s Comet is probably the best-known ‘great comet.’ Using the previous (5) ……………., Edmond Halley successfully predicted the comet’s next appearance, although it occurred after his death.

 

observations

dangerous

visible

beautiful

naming

Disaster

success

unpredictable

properties

star

 

 

 

Comet Mission Reading Answers with Explanations (1-5)

 

Question Type: Summary Completion

 

To answer summary completion questions, read the passage and identify the main ideas and supporting details. Then, match these ideas to the options provided and choose the one that best completes the summary.

 

Click to know more!

 

1. Visible

 

Reference

 

From paragraph A: “Comets arrive to grace our skies every year; some…sufficient brightness to become apparent to the unaided eye.”

 

Explanation

Paragraph A states that comets are quite common in our solar system but are seldom visible to the unaided eye. This indicates that although comets are present, they are not always apparent or observable without the aid of instruments or under specific conditions.

 

2. Unpredictable

 

Reference

 

From paragraph B: “Comets do not behave like any other object that…by the astrologers of their day for bringing or marking misfortune.”

 

Explanation

Paragraph B explains that Comets behave differently from other celestial objects in the night sky. They exhibit unpredictable movements, changing position relative to the background of stars from one night to the next. This unpredictability contrasts with the regular and predictable motions of stars and planets.

 

3. Properties

 

Reference

 

From paragraph B: “Comets do not behave like any other object that…by the astrologers of their day for bringing or marking misfortune.”

 

Explanation

Paragraph B mentions that Comets have unique properties that set them apart from other sky objects. They can appear unexpectedly and at any place in the sky, change position rapidly, and exhibit changes in brightness and appearance over time. These distinctive properties make comets intriguing and challenging to study.

 

4. Disaster

 

Reference

 

From paragraph B: “Comets do not behave like any other object that…by the astrologers of their day for bringing or marking misfortune.”

 

Explanation

Paragraph B describes how comets have often been associated with predictions of disaster, war, and calamity throughout history. Astrologers and cultures worldwide have perceived them as omens of impending misfortune. This historical perspective reflects the fear and uncertainty surrounding comets' appearances in the night sky.

 

5. Observations

 

Reference

 

From paragraph C: “There have been many spectacular comets throughout history; on average, we are visited….historical records, the first known being from a Chinese text dating from 240 BC.”

 

Explanation

Paragraph C states that Edmond Halley's successful prediction of Halley's Comet's return is attributed to his meticulous observations and analysis of historical comet sightings. By studying previous observations and applying Newton's calculus mathematics, Halley could discern the comet's orbital characteristics and predict its future appearances. This underscores the importance of systematic observations in understanding cometary behaviour and dynamics.

Questions and Answers 6-10
  • Complete the sentences below.
  • Write NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the text for each answer.
  • Write your answers in boxes 6-10 on your answer sheet.

 

6. The nucleus of a comet is the only part that is known to be …………….. and to remain present through its orbit.

7. The frozen components of a comet’s nucleus are ……………. due to the presence of dust particles.

8. The nucleus of a comet has been theorised to be porous because of its …………….

9. When far from the sun, a comet’s nucleus is icy and ……………..

10. Gas jets eject more frequently from the …………….. side of a comet.

 

Comet Mission Reading Answers with Explanations (6-10)

 

Question Type: Sentence Completion

 

To answer sentence completion questions accurately, read the given sentence carefully and identify the missing word or phrase. Then, consider the context to determine the most suitable answer option that completes the sentence appropriately. Choosing the option that best fits the context will help you answer sentence completion questions accurately.

 

How to best answer the question

 

  • Carefully read the incomplete sentence and try to understand what information is missing.
  • Pay attention to the context and any clues provided in the sentence or the surrounding text.
  • Choose the option that best completes the sentence based on the information from the reading passage.

 

6. Solid

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph D: “The nucleus is the sole solid component of a comet, and…..push out the particles of solid dust that are embedded in the ice.”

 

Explanation

Paragraph D states, "The nucleus is the sole solid component of a comet." This indicates that the only part of a comet known to be solid is its nucleus. Therefore, the answer is solid.

 

7. Blackened

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph D:  “The nucleus is the sole solid component of a comet, and…..push out the particles of solid dust that are embedded in the ice.”

 

Explanation

Paragraph D mentions that the ices in the comet's nucleus are blackened due to small fragments of dust embedded within it. This implies that the frozen components of a comet's nucleus are darkened or blackened because of the dust particles. Hence, the answer is blackened.

 

8. (low) density

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph D:  “The nucleus is the sole solid component of a comet, and…..push out the particles of solid dust that are embedded in the ice.”

 

Explanation

According to paragraph D, the nucleus of a comet is theorised to be porous. This is inferred from the statement, "The whole nucleus is of a low density, suggesting it to be a partially porous body." Therefore, the answer is (low) density.

 

9. Dormant

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph D:  “The nucleus is the sole solid component of a comet, and…..push out the particles of solid dust that are embedded in the ice.”

 

Explanation

Paragraph D explains that the nucleus remains frozen and inactive when a comet's path takes it far from the Sun. It mentions, "When travelling along the outer reaches of its orbit, far from the Sun, the nucleus remains frozen and dormant." Hence, the answer is dormant.
 

10. sunward

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph D:  “The nucleus is the sole solid component of a comet, and…..push out the particles of solid dust that are embedded in the ice.”

 

Explanation

Paragraph D states that gas jets escape from the sunward flank of the nucleus, mainly through any fissures that open up in the structure. It mentions, "The process is particularly apparent on the sunward flank of the nucleus, where the gases escape as jets." Therefore, the answer is sunward.

Questions and Answers 11-13
  • Label the diagram below.
  • Write NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the text for each answer.
  • Write your answers in boxes 11-13 on your answer sheet.

 

 

 

Comet Mission Reading Answers with Explanations (11-13)

 

Question Type: Diagram Labelling 

 

To answer diagram labelling questions in the IELTS Reading test, carefully read the instructions and label the diagram according to the given information in the reading passage. Pay attention to the location, direction, and any other relevant details to ensure accurate labelling. 

 

How to best answer the question

 

  • Carefully read the incomplete sentence and try to understand what information is missing.
  • Pay attention to the context and any clues in the sentence or the surrounding text.
  • Choose the option that best completes the sentence based on the information from the reading passage.

 

11. dust

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph E: “The closer an orbit brings a nucleus to the….the matter contained in its nucleus freezes into a rock-like material.”

 

Explanation

The paragraph E describes two types of comet tails: dust and gas ion. A dust tail forms because sunlight pushes small solid particles away from the comet's nucleus. These particles form a diffuse curved tail in the direction of the comet's orbit. Therefore, the term dust is used to label the part of the diagram representing this type of tail.

 

12. gas (ion) / ion

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph E:  “The closer an orbit brings a nucleus to the….the matter contained in its nucleus freezes into a rock-like material.”

 

Explanation

Paragraph E also mentions a gas ion tail, which forms when ultraviolet sunlight ionises gas atoms in the coma, turning them into ions. The solar wind then carries these ions away from the Sun. Since this tail consists of ions, the term gas ion or simply ion can be used to label the corresponding part of the diagram.

 

13. dissipate

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph E:  “The closer an orbit brings a nucleus to the….the matter contained in its nucleus freezes into a rock-like material.”

 

Explanation

Paragraph E describes that as a comet heads away from the Sun, its tails dissipate. This means that they gradually diminish or disappear. Therefore, the term dissipate is used to label the part of the diagram representing this process of tail disappearance.

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FAQs

Q. What are good tips/practices for IELTS Reading preparation?

Ans. To prepare for the IELTS reading exam, you should familiarise yourself with the test format, improve your reading speed, develop your vocabulary, practice with sample tests, improve your skimming and scanning skills, and read various texts. Practice is essential, and with regular practice and dedication, you can improve your reading skills and achieve a high score on the test.

Q. How can I score better on my IELTS Reading test?

Ans. To score better on your IELTS reading exam, you should focus on time management, skimming and scanning, vocabulary, accuracy, practice with sample tests, and reading different types of texts. Consistent and dedicated preparation is the key to achieving a high score on the test.

Q. Can I retake the IELTS Reading test alone?

Ans. Yes, you can retake any section of the IELTS test, whether listening, reading, writing, or speaking. The format and timing of that IELTS One Skill Retake test are the same as that individual skill in a full IELTS test; you can save time by not needing to complete the other three skills.

Q. Is the IELTS Reading test difficult to score?

Ans. The difficulty of the IELTS reading test depends on your English proficiency and familiarity with the test format. The test can be challenging because it contains a wide range of texts and questions within a limited time. However, with consistent preparation and practice, you can improve your skills and achieve a high score on the test.

Q. What is the minimum preparation time required for the IELTS Reading test?

Ans. The minimum preparation time required for the IELTS reading test is four weeks. This will give you enough time to improve your reading skills, develop your vocabulary, practice with sample tests, and improve your skimming and scanning skills. However, the amount of preparation time required depends on your current level of English proficiency and familiarity with the test format.

Q. How can I answer multiple choice questions for the IELTS Reading test?

Ans. To answer multiple-choice questions in the IELTS reading test, you should read the instructions and questions carefully, skim the text quickly to locate the relevant section, eliminate wrong answers, and make an educated guess if you are unsure. With practice, you can improve your skills and achieve a high score on the test.

Q. How can I improve my comprehension skills for the IELTS Reading test?

Ans. To improve your comprehension skills for the IELTS reading test, you can:
 

  1. Read Regularly
  2. Practice skimming and scanning
  3. Focus on vocabulary
  4. Use context clues
  5. Take practice tests

 

Following these tips can improve your skills and perform better in the IELTS reading test.

Q. What are some good resources for improving my reading skills in general?

Ans.  Try using sites like Project Gutenberg and Medium, where you can find many different things to read to improve your reading skills. If you have a lot of books, go to your local library, and they'll help you find books that suit you. To easily find books and audiobooks you want to listen to, apps such as the Kindle or Goodreads can also be used. Use websites such as Khan Academy or Newsela to practice exercises that correspond with your reading levels to improve your understanding of what you read.

Q. What are some common misconceptions about the IELTS Reading test?

Ans. There are several misconceptions about the IELTS reading test, including the belief that you need to know all the words in the passage, read the entire passage, that the questions are straightforward, that you need to answer the questions in order, and that you need prior knowledge of the topics. By understanding these misconceptions, you can confidently approach the test and clearly understand what is required to do well.

Q. How can I stay calm and focused during the IELTS Reading test?

Ans. To stay calm and focused during the IELTS reading test, practice mindfulness, manage your time, stay hydrated, stay relaxed, read the questions carefully, and stay positive. You can perform to the best of your abilities by following these tips.

Q. What is the band score range for the IELTS Reading module?

Ans. The band score range for the IELTS reading module is 0 to 9. The score is based on the number of correct answers and is calculated using a conversion table. The final score is rounded to the nearest half-band and reported as a whole or half-band. A score of 9 indicates expert user proficiency, while 0 indicates non-user proficiency. The score requirements vary depending on the institution or organisation that requires the test.