Astronomy Article 1 - packing billions of tons of solar gas...

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The sun rips off a comets tail Nasa.Gov 10/01/2007 http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2007/01oct_encke.htm?list61925 After entering the orbit of mercury on August 20, 2007 comet Encke had its tail ripped off by the sun after a solar eruption. Although this has happened to comets in the past this was the first time it has happened while a spacecraft was watching. The collision was recorded by NASA’s Stereo A probe. The video shows the comet passing through mercury’s orbit and the tail simply being pulled off of the head of the comet. Encke was hit by one of the suns Coronal Mass Ejections which are “fast moving and massive,
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Unformatted text preview: packing billions of tons of solar gas and magnetism into billowing clouds traveling a million-plus miles per hour. It is almost surprising that one of these CMEs was successful in pulling off a comets tail because with all their mass and power they are spread out over a large amount of space. They believe that this happened by the magnetic fields of the comet bumping into the opposite magnetic fields of the CMEs causing the tail to be removed. Because of the comet orbit so close to the sun it is believed that it has been struck with more CMEs than any other comet and this may affect its nature and evolution....
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course AST 112 taught by Professor Fredrickson during the Spring '08 term at Glendale Community College.

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Astronomy Article 1 - packing billions of tons of solar gas...

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