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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: The Sun's Twisted Tail
10 July 2013 5:45 pm
NASA's Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) spacecraft has stared back "downwind" to look at the sun's own tail. Much as the sun's solar wind blows out the tails of comets, the vanishingly thin stuff between the stars blows the charged particles and magnetic fields of the solar wind back into a tail. The effect is much the same as when the sun's "wind" of charged particles and magnetic fields blows a comet's gas and dust into a tail. Most stars have such tails, as here imaged by telescopes. IBEX rendered the sun's "heliotail" by recording uncharged atomic particles streaming toward it from the direction of the tail. Contrary to predictions, the sun's tail is slightly twisted by the interstellar magnetic field and reflects the varying intensity of solar wind emissions back on the sun. As best as IBEX researchers can tell, the heliotail disperses some 1000 times farther from the sun than is Earth.