Is the Sun a Comet? (Video)


NASA’s Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX), a $169 million spacecraft has discovered what many scientists surmised; the sun has a comet-like tail. The less than 20 foot square craft, displayed the tail which couldn’t be seen before because it doesn’t shine, nor does it reflect light. Is the sun a comet?

No, it is a star. Both stars and comets have tails, which can usually be seen through a telescope. Our sun was not that easy.

“By examining the neutral atoms, IBEX made the first observations of the heliotail. Many models have suggested the heliotail might be like this or like that, but we’ve had no observations. We always drew pictures where the tail of the heliosphere just disappears off the page, since we couldn’t even speculate about what it really looked like,” said David McComas, lead author on the research and principal investigator for IBEX at Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas.

Scientists will not yet give as estimate to the length of the tail, but say it is no more than 1,000 times the distance from the earth to the sun.
IBEX uses ‘energetic neutral atom imaging,’ and measures the neutral particles within the heliosphere, which travel in a straight line.

“IBEX scans the entire sky, so it has given us our first data about what the tail of the heliosphere looks like, an important part of understanding our place in and movement through the galaxy,” Eric Christian, IBEX mission scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, stressed to journalists.

Brenda Dingus of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, says that this discovery could be valuable in other projects such as Voyager I, and Voyager II.

“These two missions are incredible complementary. IBEX is like an MRI — you take an image of the whole body to see what’s going on — and the Voyagers’ are like biopsies.”
Is the sun a comet? No, but it has comet-like traits, such as a tail.

Alfred James reporting

6 Responses to "Is the Sun a Comet? (Video)"

  1. jamal shrair   July 12, 2013 at 5:34 am

    GREAT NEWS FOR ME. Note the alignment of the tail due to magnetics! This is another support to the Helical Universe and my magnetic theory

  2. markeagleone   July 11, 2013 at 9:21 am

    So, basically they are saying there is a small amount more particles being concentrated due to movement, but nothing out of the ordinary. I keep up to date in the sciences, but this story made it sound as though something new and quit powerful had been discovered. I think they should have given the science behind the story and not have said it is like a comets tail.

  3. Russell Flowers (@ChoralReave)   July 11, 2013 at 9:21 am

    Is this article well written? No, it is not, but it has characteristics of a well written article. Recent readings have shown what readers have always surmised : scientists can’t write well. Neither can science journalists. So is this article well written? No, but it will be read anyway.

  4. markeagleone   July 11, 2013 at 9:14 am

    I am slightly confused. Comets have tails due to the particles being emitted from the star they orbit. Does anyone have a theory to what causes the sun to have such a thing? Stellar particles would affect the sun in all directions, not only that, but the sun emits particles that should either push them in all directions away from the sun, or if they are too close, gravity should pull them to the surface. What is the actual theory as to what is being seen here? What force overcomes the stars gravitational pull and the force of the solar winds to cause this effect?

  5. Albert Einstein   July 11, 2013 at 9:12 am

    Come on NASA, a comet has water in it. Last time I checked, our sun doesn’t have any, just helium, hydrogen, etc.

  6. Ken Zook   July 11, 2013 at 9:12 am

    The sun’s tail comes from its motion through space. A comet’s tail comes from particles being cooked off of its surface bu the sun. From what I’ve read about this, the sun’s tail is not even comet-like in shape. Describing the sun’s tail as comet-like without mentioning these major differences contributes to scientific ignorance.


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