A metallic chemical element; symbol Na (L. natrium]. Atomic number 11; atomic weight 22.98977; melting point 97.81°C; boiling point 892.9°C; specific gravity 0.971 at 20°C. It was discovered in 1807 by the English chemist Humphry Davy from electrolysis of caustic soda (NaOH).
Sodium, from soda (NaOH).
Fr.: queue de sodium
1) A kind of → cometary tail appearing in some
→ comets, such as → Hale-Bopp.
Sodium tails arise from the very strong → fluorescence
of their sodium atom → D lines
in the visible. They are rapidly accelerated
to high velocities by the Sun, forming a very straight tail distinct from the
→ ion tail.
The release mechanism of sodium from comets is still a matter of debate.
Also called → neutral tail.