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Originally posted by Essan
Though I concede that for a good many years some scientists have been saying that we should expect an increase in extreme weather events as a consequence of global warming. Maybe they were right?
Is the solar system entering a nearby interstellar cloud
Vidal-Madjar, A.; Laurent, C.; Bruston, P.; Audouze, J.
AA(CNRS, Laboratoire de Physique Stellaire et Planetaire, Verrieres-le-Buisson, Essonne, France), AB(CNRS, Laboratoire de Physique Stellaire et Planetaire, Verrieres-le-Buisson, Essonne, France), AC(CNRS, Laboratoire de Physique Stellaire et Planetaire, Verrieres-le-Buisson, Essonne, France), AD(Meudon Observatoire, Hauts-de-Seine; Paris XI, Universite, Orsay, Essonne, France)
Astrophysical Journal, Part 1, vol. 223, July 15, 1978, p. 589-600. (ApJ Homepage)
ASTRONOMICAL MODELS, DEUTERIUM, HYDROGEN ATOMS, INTERSTELLAR GAS, SOLAR SYSTEM, ABUNDANCE, EARLY STARS, GAS DENSITY, INTERSTELLAR EXTINCTION
A&AA ID. AAA021.131.209
Observations indicating a hydrogen density gradient in the vicinity of the solar system are reviewed, particularly observations of an anisotropy in the far-UV flux around 950 A from the brightest and closest O and B stars as well as a variation in the local D/H ratio along the lines of sight to Alpha Cen and Alpha Aur. Possible mechanisms that may strongly affect the observed D/H ratio on a very small scale are considered, selected radiation pressure is proposed as the most likely mechanism for deuterium separation, and it is shown that this mechanism would be effective only if the density gradient of the nearby interstellar medium has remained stable for at least about 10 million years. This time scale is taken to imply the existence of a nearby (less than 2 pc distant) interstellar cloud. Observational arguments in favor of such a cloud are presented, and implications of the presence of a nearby cloud are discussed, including possible changes in terrestrial climate. It is suggested that the postulated interstellar cloud should encounter the solar system at some unspecified time in the 'near' future and might have a drastic influence on terrestrial climate in the next 10,000 years.
Ribbon at Edge of Our Solar System: Will the Sun Enter a Million-Degree Cloud of Interstellar Gas?
ScienceDaily (May 24, 2010) — Is the Sun going to enter a million-degree galactic cloud of interstellar gas soon?
Scientists from the Space Research Centre of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Southwest Research Institute, and Boston University suggest that the ribbon of enhanced emissions of energetic neutral atoms, discovered last year by the NASA Small Explorer satellite IBEX, could be explained by a geometric effect coming up because of the approach of the Sun to the boundary between the Local Cloud of interstellar gas and another cloud of a very hot gas called the Local Bubble. If this hypothesis is correct, IBEX is catching matter from a hot neighboring interstellar cloud, which the Sun might enter in a hundred years.
The Sun traveling through the Galaxy happens to cross at the present time a blob of gas about ten light-years across, with a temperature of 6-7 thousand degrees kelvin. This so-called Local Interstellar Cloud is immersed in a much larger expanse of a million-degree hot gas, named the Local Bubble. The energetic neutral atoms (ENA) are generated by charge exchange at the interface between the two gaseous media. ENA can be observed provided the Sun is close enough to the interface. The apparent Ribbon of ENA discovered by the IBEX satellite can be explained by a geometric effect: one observes many more ENA by looking along a line-of-sight almost tangent to the interface than by looking in the perpendicular direction. (Credit: SRC/Tentaris,ACh/Maciej Frolow)
Our solar system may be headed for an encounter with a dense cloud of interstellar matter
Our solar system may be headed for an encounter with a dense cloud of interstellar matter–gas and dust–that could have substantial implications for our solar systems interplanetary environment, according to University of Chicago astrophysicist Priscilla Frisch. The good news is that it probably won’t happen for 50,000 years. Frisch presented the results of her research Monday, June 10, at the meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Madison, Wisc.
Frisch has been investigating the interstellar gas in the local neighborhood of our solar system, which is called the Local Interstellar Medium (LISM). This interstellar gas is within 100 light years of the Sun. The Sun has a trajectory through space, and for most of the last five million years, said Frisch, it has been moving through a region of space between the spiral arms of the Milky Way galaxy that is almost devoid of matter. Only recently, within the last few thousand years, she estimates, the Sun has been traveling through a relatively low-density interstellar cloud.
“This cloud, although low density on average, has a tremendous amount of structure to it,” Frisch said. “And it is not inconsistent with our data that the Sun may eventually encounter a portion of the cloud that is a million times denser than what we’re in now.”
Frisch believes the interstellar cloud through which we’re traveling is a relatively narrow band of dust and gas that lies in a superbubble shell expanding outward from an active star-formation region called the Scorpius-Centaurus Association. “When this superbubble expanded around these stars, it expanded much farther into the region of our galaxy between the spiral arms, where our sun lies, because the density is very low,” Frisch said. “It didn’t expand very far in the direction parallel to the spiral arms because it ran into very dense molecular clouds.”
Surprise In Earth's Upper Atmosphere: Mode Of Energy Transfer From The Solar Wind
"Its like something else is heating the atmosphere besides the sun. This discovery is like finding it got hotter when the sun went down," said Larry Lyons, UCLA professor of atmospheric and oceanic sciences and a co-author of the research, which is in press in two companion papers in the Journal of Geophysical Research.
"We all have thought for our entire careers — I learned it as a graduate student — that this energy transfer rate is primarily controlled by the direction of the interplanetary magnetic field," Lyons said. "The closer to southward-pointing the magnetic field is, the stronger the energy transfer rate is, and the stronger the magnetic field is in that direction. If it is both southward and big, the energy transfer rate is even bigger."
However, Lyons, Kim and their colleagues analyzed radar data that measure the strength of the interaction by measuring flows in the ionosphere, the part of Earth's upper atmosphere ionized by solar radiation. The results surprised them.
"Any space physicist, including me, would have said a year ago there could not be substorms when the interplanetary magnetic field was staying northward, but that's wrong," Lyons said. "Generally, it's correct, but when you have a fluctuating interplanetary magnetic field, you can have substorms going off once per hour.
"Heejeong used detailed statistical analysis to prove this phenomenon is real. Convection in the magnetosphere and ionosphere can be strongly driven by these fluctuations, independent of the direction of the interplanetary magnetic field."
Space radiation hits record high
Now, the influx of galactic cosmic rays into our solar system has reached a record high. Measurements by NASA's Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) spacecraft indicate that cosmic rays are 19 per cent more abundant than any previous level seen since space flight began a half century ago."The space era has so far experienced a time of relatively low cosmic ray activity," says Richard Mewaldt of Caltech, who is a member of the ACE team. "We may now be returning to levels typical of past centuries."