Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Dreaming of the Heilosphere

Click here for a fascinating artist's rendering of what the edge of the solar system might look like, as envisioned by plasma physicist Merav Opher. John Rennie describes it as:
A tenuous, invisible wind of ionized gas billows off the sun at a million miles per hour, carrying with it the sun’s magnetic field. It does not radiate out infinitely: far beyond Pluto’s orbit, this solar wind abruptly slams into the thin interstellar medium and the scattered gaseous remnants of exploded stars. That border defines what astronomers call the heliosphere.
...Opher is interpeting data that suggests that part of the heliosphere’s edge may be a churning magnetic froth, which could have broad implications for astrophysics.

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