We present a simple, unified model that can explain two of the brightest, large-scale, diffuse, polarizedradio features in the sky, the North Polar Spur (NPS) and the Fan Region, along with several otherprominent loops. We suggest that they are long, magnetized, and parallel filamentary structures thatsurround the Local arm and/or Local Bubble, in which the Sun is embedded. We show this modelis consistent with the large number of observational studies on these regions, and is able to resolvean apparent contradiction in the literature that suggests the high latitude portion of the NPS isnearby, while lower latitude portions are more distant. Understanding the contributions of this localemission is critical to developing a complete model of the Galactic magnetic field.
Dr. Jennifer West, Research Associate at the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics, is making a scientific case that two bright structures that are seen on opposite sides of the sky – previously considered to be separate – are actually connected and are made of rope-like filaments. This connection forms what looks like a tunnel around our solar system.
“If we were to look up in the sky,” explains West, “we would see this tunnel-like structure in just about every direction we looked – that is, if we had eyes that could see radio light.”
An expert in magnetism in galaxies and the interstellar medium, West looks forward to the more possible discoveries connected to this research.
“Magnetic fields don’t exist in isolation,” she says. “They all must to connect to each other. So, a next step is to better understand how this local magnetic field connects both to the larger-scale galactic magnetic field, and also to the smaller scale magnetic fields of our sun and Earth.”
Like the waistband of a couch potato in midlife, the orbits of planets in our solar system are expanding. It happens because the Sun’s gravitational grip gradually weakens as our star ages and loses mass.
(Jan 3, 2019)
Deep inside the Sun, the process of nuclear fusion occurs. Every second, the Sun emits some 3.846 × 1026 joules of energy, which are released via the conversion of mass into energy in the core. Einstein’s E = mc2 is the root cause, nuclear fusion is the process, and the continuous emission of energy from the Sun is the result. This energy is the underlying process that powers practically every biologically interesting process occurring on Earth.
(October 1, 2010)
It’s cold, dusty, and bereft of planets, but the outskirts of our solar system are anything but dull, according to increasing evidence from NASA’s Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) craft.
As charged particles flow out from the sun, they eventually bump up against interstellar medium—the relatively empty areas between stars. These interactions „inflate“ a protective bubble that shields Earth and the entire solar system from potentially harmful cosmic rays (solar system pictures).
Using data IBEX collected on ENAs as it charted just one 11-year solar cycle, the time between shifts in the sun’s magnetic field, researchers built a three-dimensional map of the entire heliosphere, which Reisenfeld says shields Earth and other planets from harmful radiation.
“Our Earth gets bombarded by cosmic rays, galactic cosmic rays all the time,” he says. These rays can subtly affect airplanes that fly near the poles, often on trips between Europe or Asia and the US.
Scientists say that to study other planet’s astrospheres, which is what heliospheres are called when they surround other stars, we must first understand our own.
They’ll have a chance to take that step forward soon: A re-flight of the mission was just greenlit by NASA. Though the launch date isn’t yet set, the team plans to use the same instrument but with a new technique to measure a much broader swath of the Sun.
“Instead of just measuring the magnetic fields along the very narrow strip, we want to scan it across the target and make a two-dimensional map,” McKenzie said.