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A rogue comet is a general term for an astronomical body that has the characteristics of a comet, but does not have a permanent orbit around a star. Instead, it travels in interstellar space unless perturbed by another object.
Examples of rogue comets include:
- One that passed through the Gamma Hydra system in 2267. This comet was unusual and produced radiation that caused extremely rapid aging in humanoids. The orbit of Gamma Hydra IV carried the planet directly through the comet's tail, exposing the planet to the radiation. Kirk alerted Starfleet that the comet was "highly dangerous". (TOS: "The Deadly Years")
- A magnitude 7 comet that was not associated with any known system but was located near the Romulan Neutral Zone in 2266 may have been a rogue comet. (TOS: "Balance of Terror")
- A rogue comet infused with silithium appeared in the Gamma Quadrant in 2371 and entered the Bajoran wormhole into the Alpha Quadrant. It played a crucial part in Trakor's Third Prophecy and was believed to be the Sword of Stars. (DS9: "Destiny")
- A rogue comet was encountered by the USS Enterprise-D in 2370. It appeared to have originated in the D'Arsay system approximately 87 million years previously. The comet's outer shell was composed primarily of gaseous hydrogen and helium surrounding an icy mantle. The inner core consisted of heavier elements, as well as a cultural archive of a race from 87 million years in the past. The comet's outer shell was vaporized by the Enterprise in the course of investigating the comet and the archive. (TNG: "Masks")
- The comet discovered in the Delta Quadrant by the USS Voyager in 2372 had an erratic trajectory without any associated stellar or planetary gravitational fields that could account for its motion. The comet was a rogue comet, imprisoning a Q identified as Quinn. (VOY: "Death Wish")
- Component 37329 was the temporal designation for a rogue comet the USS Voyager encountered in 2374. The ship set a course to avoid it, which led them to enter Krenim space. (VOY: "Year of Hell, Part II")