antitail


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antitail

A small spiky taillike structure on a comet that, unlike most comet tails, seems to point toward the Sun. It is usually only seen when the observer is in the plane of the cometary orbit. The particles responsible for scattering the sunlight are much larger than those that produce the normal dust tail.

antitail

[¦an·tē¦tāl]
(astronomy)
A structure occasionally observed in comets that appears to extend from the coma toward the sun, and usually has the appearance of a spike.
References in periodicals archive ?
Near the end of May, Comet C/2011 L4 PanSTARRS passed through a chance alignment of its orbital plane with Earth's, revealing a long antitail pointing back toward the Sun.
35m reflector + CCD) of an antitail on several occasions during April and May: April 24.
This sunward spike, or antitail, had not been seen on Kohoutek before, and the astronauts debated if it was real or an illusion.
My third memorable one, C/1990 K1, put on a nice performance in August and September 1990, brightening to 3rd magnitude as it cruised the Milky Way and growing a broad antitail the following year.
We could see not only the comet's thin, 30cents-long ion tail but also a rare and unexpected 10cents-long antitail, one that appeared to point toward the Sun instead of away from it.
It had a tail that extended nearly 30 [degrees], as well as a bright, spike-shaped antitail half as long.
This almost 2 [degrees] -long antitail appeared broad and diffuse (see page 33).
The comet also exhibited an antitail the likes of which had never been seen.
Sekanina predicts there will be no Sunward-pointing antitail in late March, given the geometry of the flyby.
You might even catch something of scientific value - a disconnection in the comet's tail, a sudden brightening, or the appearance of an antitail.
Visually, the directions of the antitail and normal tail diverged by approximately 150 [degrees], with the former preceding the comet's head.
Just past perihelion and on its way out of the solar system, this comet surprised me by displaying a beautiful antitail -- one that projects toward the Sun.