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When most people think of shooting stars they think of a round ball with the main tail a.k.a dust tail behind. But what if there were two of those tails. That is what comet Neowise has. The dust that makeup up the main tail is pulled by three forces: the sun, the comet itself, and the force from the sun’s radiation. However, in the case of the Neowise comet the second, slightly narrower, the tail becomes prominent before the main dust tail, according to Forbes.
In early photos of the comet, its blue ion tail is the only one visible to the human eye. But now if stargazers look closer they may be able to see the second tail. NASA stated “Parker Solar Probe’s images appear to show a divide in the ion tail”, explaining how the comet gained this extra tail.
In previous years differently sized particles were affected more than larger ones by solar radiation, making the tail appear wider. The carbon monoxide absorbs the sunlight and fluoresces. The wavelength for blue light, making it appear blue, according to an article from Case Western Reserve University. The University also stated, the tail always points away from the sun.
Neowise is the brightest comet since Hale-Bopp in 1997. It was discovered in March and can be seen by the naked eye for most viewers in the Northern Hemisphere this month.
Written By Trinity Simmons-Brook
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware
Fox News: Comet NEOWISE surprises some stargazers with two tails
Image Courtesy of ClaraDon Flikr Page – Creative Commons