Two satellites peering at the sun have snapped photos of Mercury’s long, comet-like tail, but it took an amateur astronomer to bring the pictures to light.
The twin satellites are part of NASA’s Stereo (Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory) mission. They zip around the sun in Earth’s orbit, one behind our planet and one ahead of it. Their main job is to monitor the sun and its atmosphere….
Scientists have known for years that Mercury has a long tail. From Earth it can be seen by analyzing light from sodium gas sputtered off Mercury’s surface. The sun’s intense radiation pressure pushes many sodium atoms off into space, creating a tail that extends far beyond the planet.
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Often astrologers look at the physical makeup of a planet to determine its energetic influence. For example Uranus, with its eccentric orbit, rules eccentricity. Neptune is shrouded in mists, and it has a similar effect on our lives. Mercury is known as the “winged footed messenger,” and now it appears that the planet actually has wings as well!
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