DAVID A. HARDY, COURTESY PPARC / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DAVID A. HARDY, COURTESY PPARC / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Ulysses probe and Comet Hyakutake. Artwork of the Ulysses probe near the tail (white) of Comet Hyakutake. The inner planetary orbits (pink) are also seen. Hyakutake's tail was blown into the probe's path by the solar wind on May 1st 1996. Measurements showed that the tail, at 570 million kilometres, is the longest ever measured. Hyakutake passed close to Earth in March and April 1996, during which time it was visible to the naked eye. Ulysses was launched in 1990 to study the Sun and the solar wind outside the ecliptic plane of the planetary orbits. It is a joint mission of ESA (European Space Agency) and NASA.
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