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Artificial comet helps scientists study solar wind

Scientists launched an artificial comet high above Earth Thursday in an experiment to study solar wind. It ''exploded like a very bright star,'' formed a 31,000-mile tail, then dissipated after 15 minutes. ''The solar wind blew this thing away very rapidly,'' NASA scientist Bob Cameron said.

The comet first appeared at 4:32 a.m. PST, 10 minutes after two canisters of barium were released from a West German satellite about 60,000 miles over the Pacific.

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