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Caught by its Tail

3 February 2022

At https://phys.org/news/2022-01-solar-orbiter-comet-tail.html … the Solar Orbiter spacecraft has flown through the tail of Comet Leonard. In the process data was collected that now awaits analysis. The spacecraft was charged to study the Sun but in flying through the tail of the comet it has captured information about the particles it encountered and the magnetic field present in the tail. This will allow astronomers to assess the way comets interact with the solar wind. The comet at the time was close to Venus but the tail stretched across space to virtually the orbit of the earth, and beyond. In March Solar Orbiter will make its closest pass to the Sun in the current mission, with other close passes to follow.

At https://phys.org/news/2022-01-mysterious-energy-source-astronomers.html … a team mapping radio waves in the universe have discovered something that releases giant bursts of energy three times an hour. They think it might be a neutron star, or a white dwarf – with a very powerful magnetic field. The source is also spinning in space and sending out a beam of radiation that crosses earth's line of sight for one minute of every 20 minutes.

At https://phys.org/news/2022-01-space-brilliantly-months-astronomers-intri… … an object in space, beamed brilliantly for 3 months, before disappearing. What was it?

At https://phys.org/news/2022-01-highest-resolution-view-heart-blazar.html … which has the headline, the highest resolution view of the heart of a blazar. A blazar is a galaxy with a supermassive black hole at the centre, blazing away. In this instance, there are said to be two supermassive black holes in the target galaxy, and jets of gas, or plasma, emerge in two opposite directions. These emit a lot of radiation.

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