New Horizons spacecraft detects Pluto plasma tail
NASA reports that the New Horizons spacecraft has detected a tail of plasma streaming behind Pluto at a distance between 48,000 miles (77,000 km) and 68,000 miles (109,000 km). This plasma was detected by New Horizons’ Solar Wind Around Pluto (SWAP) instrument and is comprised of nitrogen ions that have escaped from Pluto’s thin atmosphere. It is theorized by NASA that “escaping molecules” are ionized by solar ultraviolet light, “picked up” by the solar wind, […]
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