A representation of our heliosphere traveling through the interstellar medium to produce a heliotail that has been mapped by IBEX for the first time (Image: NASA/Goddard)
An artist's rendering of IBEX in space (Image: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab)
Scientists used NASA’s IBEX to confirm that our solar system has a tail trailing behind it, like other visible stars (Image: NASA/HST/R.Casalegno/GALEX)
This data from NASA’s IBEX shows what it observed looking down the solar system’s tail – the yellow and red colors represent areas of slow-moving particles, and the blue represents the fast-moving particles (Image: NASA/IBEX)
An artist's rendering of IBEX in space with the moon in the background (Image: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center)
Although never actually observed, it has long been assumed that as our Solar System careers through the Universe, the heliosphere, or solar bubble, has a tail trailing behind it like a comet's. For the first time, NASA's Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX), which was launched back in 2008, has mapped the boundaries of this tail, revealing it is shaped like a four-leaf clover.
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