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The heliosphere is the big magnetic bubble in space carved out by the solar wind. The solar defines the border between our Solar System and interstellar space. This border, called the heliopause, is where the solar wind's strength is no longer great enough to push back the wind originating from other stars. The region around the heliopause also acts as a shield for our Solar System, warding off a significant portion of the cosmic rays outside the galaxy. Latest data from Ulysses show that the Sun has reduced its output of solar wind to the lowest levels since accurate readings have become available. This current state of the Sun could reduce the natural shielding that envelops our Solar System.....
..."Galactic cosmic rays carry with them radiation from other parts of our galaxy," said Ed Smith, NASA's Ulysses Project Scientist from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, USA. "With the solar wind at an all-time low, there is an excellent chance that the heliosphere will diminish in size and strength. If that occurs, more galactic cosmic rays will make it into the inner part of our Solar System."
Galactic cosmic rays are of great interest; cosmic rays are linked to engineering decisions for unmanned interplanetary spacecraft and exposure limits for astronauts traveling beyond low-Earth orbit. .....
Since the Apollo Moon missions in the 1960s and 1970s, astronauts have reported curious ‘flashes of light’ even when they have their eyes closed. It is thought that this is caused by cosmic rays passing through the eye and either producing a flash of light in the eye or triggering a nerve response in the retina.
If the heliosphere continues to weaken, it is feared intergalactic cosmic radiation reaching Earth will increase, disrupting electrical equipment, damaging satellites and potentially harming life.
If the heliosphere continues to weaken, scientists fear that the amount of cosmic radiation reaching the inner parts of our solar system, including Earth, will increase. This could result in growing levels of disruption to electrical equipment, damage satellites and potentially even harm life on Earth.