The Moon has been shown to have a "tail" of sodium atoms too faint to be detected by the human eye. Hundreds of thousands of kilometers long, the feature was discovered in 1998 as a result of scientists from Boston University observing the Leonid meteor shower.
The Moon is constantly releasing atomic sodium as a fine dust from its surface due to photon-stimulated desorption, solar wind sputtering, and meteorite impacts. Solar radiation pressure accelerates the sodium atoms away from the Sun, forming an elongated tail toward the antisolar direction.
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- "The Sodium Tail of the Moon". NASA. 2009-12-01. Retrieved 2017-10-20
- Matta, M. Smith; Smith, S.; Baumgardner, J.; Wilson, J.; Martinis, C.; Mendillo, M. (December 1, 2009). "The Sodium Tail of the Moon". Icarus. NASA. 204 (2): 409–417. Bibcode:2009Icar..204..409M. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2009.06.017 – via ScienceDirect.
- "Lunar Leonids 2000". NASA. 2000-11-17. Archived from the original on 2007-11-26. Retrieved 2007-12-18.
- "Moon's tail spotted". BBC. 1999-06-09. Retrieved 2009-11-15.
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