The Earth Has a Tail! – SILOTI

Here’s Something I Learned on the Internet:

The Earth has a dust tail, and it could help us find Aliens! And by “us” I mean not me, because my job just isn’t that awesome.

Earth has a dust tail not because the planet itself is particularly dusty, but rather because the whole solar system is. Interplanetary space is littered with dusty fragments of comets and colliding asteroids. When Earth orbits through this dusty environment, a tail forms in the rear, akin to swaths of fallen leaves swirling up behind a streetsweeper.

“As Earth orbits the sun, it creates a sort of shell or depression that dust particles fall into, creating a thickening of dust – the tail – that Earth pulls along via gravity,” explains Werner. “In fact, the tail trails our planet all the way around the sun, forming a large dusty ring.”

Cool beans.

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5 Responses to “The Earth Has a Tail! – SILOTI”


  1. 1 Soothsaber November 17, 2010 at 12:09 am

    Did not know that. That is neat.

  2. 2 The Pick Man November 17, 2010 at 4:34 am

    I used to think of space as an empty void but there’s certainly a lot of ‘stuff’ out there.

    Here is SILOTI last week. It’s well worth three minutes of your time.

  3. 3 The Pick Man November 17, 2010 at 4:48 am

    I didn’t realise that the link I posted (above) would put the YouTube video in your comments column. (SOLITI today! LOL) So an explanation is needed.

    This video, created by Scott Manley, is a view of the solar system showing the locations of all the asteroids starting from 1980. As asteroids are discovered they are added to the map and highlighted.

    At first they are white – so you can pick out the new ones. Notice now the pattern of discovery follows the Earth around its orbit, for obvious reasons most discoveries are made in the region directly opposite the Sun.

    The final colour of an asteroids indicates how closely it comes to the inner solar system:
    Earth Crossers are Red
    Earth Approachers (Perihelion less than 1.3AU) are Yellow
    All Others are Green

  4. 4 The Pick Man November 17, 2010 at 5:03 am

    Sorry, I don’t want to be too instructive, but I thought it might be interesting know that an astronomical unit (AU) is a unit of length equal to about 149,597,871 kilometres (92,955,887.6 miles). It is defined as the mean distance between the Earth and the Sun over one Earth orbit.

  5. 5 EnlightningLinZ November 17, 2010 at 8:49 am

    Cool video! And I had no idea you could embed videos either…I wonder if that means WordPress will let me embed them in my posts now (it’s supposed to be a paid feature). We’ll see next time I want a video in one of my posts!

    I didn’t know what an AU was thx 🙂


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