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Solar Hurricane Rips Off Comet's Tail 105

coondoggie writes to mention that NASA recently captured images of a solar hurricane ripping the tail off Encke's comet. "In a release, NASA said preliminary analysis suggests that the tail was ripped away when magnetic fields bumped together in an explosive process called "magnetic reconnection." Oppositely directed magnetic fields around the comet "bumped into each" by the magnetic fields in the hurricane. Suddenly, these fields linked together--they "reconnected"--releasing a burst of energy that tore off the comet's tail. A similar process takes place in Earth's magnetosphere during geomagnetic storms fueling, among other things, the Northern Lights, NASA said."

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