Comets Help Explore the Sun’s Atmosphere

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Comet Lovejoy swept right through the sun’s corona with its long tail streaming behind it in December 2011. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured images of the comet, showing how its long tail was buffeted by systems around the Sun.

Since comet tails have ionized gases, they are also affected by the sun’s magnetic field, and can act as tracers of the complex magnetic system higher up in the atmosphere. Comets can also aid in the study of coronal mass ejections and the solar wind.

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