NASA has released the first images of the solar system's never-seen-before tail, according to a news release.

Referred to as the "heliotail," researchers have been able to capture the first three years of NASA's Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) space imagery published in Astrophysical Journal.

Telescopes have been used to search for tails around other stars, but researchers have found difficulty in using them to see if a tail is forming. Particles found in a tail do not reflect light, making it problematic to spot using conventional tools.

"By examining the neutral atoms, IBEX has made the first observations of the heliotail," David McComas, IBEX principal investigator at Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas, and the paper's lead author, said in NASA press release. "Many models have suggested the heliotail might look like this or like that, but we have had no observations. We always drew pictures where the tail of the solar system just trailed off the page, since we couldn't even speculate about what it really looked like."

In order to see the tail, IBEX maps out regions by measuring neutral particles created by collisions at the heliosphere's boundaries, according to NASA. The technique is called energetic neutral atom imaging, and it "relies on the fact that the paths of neutral particles aren't affected by the heliosphere's magnetic fields."

Space particles reportedly travel in a straight line from collision to IBEX. Subsequently, "observing where the neutral particles came from describes what's going on in these distant regions," NASA stated in the news release.

"Using neutral atoms, IBEX can observe far away structures, even from Earth orbit," said Eric Christian, IBEX mission scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. "And IBEX scans the entire sky, so it has given us our first data about what the tail of the heliosphere looks like, an important part of understanding our place in and movement through the galaxy."

To read more about NASA's new imagining technology, click here.