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NASA X-Ray Instrument Settles Interstellar Debate

July 29, 2014

This animation illustrates solar wind charge exchange in action. An atom of interstellar helium (blue) collides with a solar wind ion (red), losing one of its electrons (yellow) to the other particle. As it settles into a lower-energy state, the electron emits a soft X-ray.

Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

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