The NEOWISE comet has been exciting space scientists since it was discovered in March. Now, researchers who analyzed the images of the comet have suggested that this space body could have a tail made up of sodium.
Presence of Atomic Sodium
The latest images of NEOWISE comet were captured on July 08, by the Planetary Science Institute's Input/Output facility clearly showed the atomic sodium tail of this space body, and researchers believe that learning more about this tail could help to know more details about this object. Researchers who took part in this study revealed that the atomic sodium in the comet's tail usually gets impacted by sunlight, and thus it will be visible to human eyes.
"Atomic sodium responds to sunlight in a similar way to cometary dust, but its momentum kick comes from a very particular wavelength of yellow light – the same color seen in sodium vapor street lamps," Jeffrey Morgenthaler, a senior scientist at the Planetary Science Institute, said in a recent statement.
More Details about NEOWISE Comet
NASA discovered the NEOWISE comet on March 27. After discovering the comet, the United States space agency had revealed that this space object will be visible to the naked eyes.
"Through about the middle of the month, the comet is visible around 10 degrees above the northeastern horizon (the width of your outstretched fist) in the hour before dawn. From mid-July on, it's best viewed as an evening object, rising increasingly higher above the northwestern horizon," wrote NASA on their website.
According to the latest analysis on this comet's trajectory, NEOWISE will have its closest approach on July 22, and at this time, this space body will be just 64 million miles away from Earth.
"The comet takes about 6,800 years to make one lap around its long, stretched out orbit, so it won't visit the inner solar system again for many thousands of years," added NASA.