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Originally posted by theabsolutetruth
reply to post by Philosophile
At the edge of the Solar System is the magnetic Heliosphere, a bubble created by the sun effectively. Voyager 1 has just got to the edge of this and has detected a new unpredicted area, where charged particles from the galaxy (outside of the Solar System) are entering the heliosphere. Essentially a ''Magnetic Highway'', the youtube Vid on the OP is a good visual reference, the first part is the heliosphere and the second part is Voyager 1 entering the ''Magnetic Highway''.
Here's the video again
edit on 3-12-2012 by theabsolutetruth because: (no reason given)
Originally posted by pot8er
Watching the animation makes me think that people are looking at it backwards. We're the ones moving, the flow past is the environment rushing past. The further we leave the sun, the more we slow, eventually settling down still in open space, where cosmic rays are flying about past us.
Then the sun would speed off and we'd never be able to catch it again. Adios home, at that point me thinks.
Perhaps the universal empty space is all magnetic outside of our sun and other stars influence?
Originally posted by new_here
. . .what is the 'balloon' itself actually made of?
Originally posted by grey580
Time to relearn stuff!
Electric Universe anyone?
Originally posted by theabsolutetruth
reply to post by goou111
Nice thought, that would be awesome.
Ripping space fabric? Another dimension? The possibilities...
Originally posted by netwarrior
Or it could be that something finds it on the 21st. Just sayin. Maybe this magnetic ribbon is an interstellar tripwire.
Initial data revealed a previously unpredicted "very narrow ribbon that is two to three times brighter than anything else in the sky". Initial interpretations suggest that "the interstellar environment has far more influence on structuring the heliosphere than anyone previously believed". "No one knows what is creating the ENA (energetic neutral atoms) ribbon, but everyone agrees that it means the textbook picture of the heliosphere—in which the solar system's enveloping pocket filled with the solar wind's charged particles is plowing through the onrushing 'galactic wind' of the interstellar medium in the shape of a comet—is wrong". The Sun is currently traveling through the Local Interstellar Cloud, and the heliosphere's size and shape are key factors in determining its shielding power from cosmic rays. Should IBEX detect changes in the shape of the ribbon, that could show how the heliosphere is interacting with the Local Fluff.It has also observed ENA's from the Earth's magnetosphere.
In October 2010, significant changes were detected in the ribbon after six months, based on the second set of IBEX observations.
"Our discovery of changes over six months in the IBEX ribbon and other neutral atoms propagating in from the edge of our solar system show that the interaction of our Sun and the galaxy is amazingly dynamic"
—D. McComas, IBEX principal investigator 
It went on to detect neutral atoms from outside the solar system, which were found to differ in composition from the Sun. IBEX discovered the Sun has no bow shock. The speed of the heliosphere in relation to the local cloud is thought to be 52,000 miles per hour, instead of previous estimate of 59,000 mph. Those speeds equate to 25% less pressure on the Sun's heliosphere than previously thought.
"The solar wind isn't inflating the heliosphere as much as it used to," says McComas. "That means less shielding against cosmic rays." In addition to weakened solar wind, "Ulysses also finds that the sun's underlying magnetic field has weakened by more than 30% since the mid-1990s," says Posner. "This reduces natural shielding even more." Unpublished Ulysses cosmic ray data show that, indeed, high energy (GeV) electrons, a minor but telltale component of cosmic rays around Earth, have jumped in number by about 20%. These extra particles pose no threat to people on Earth's surface. Our thick atmosphere and planetary magnetic field provide additional layers of protection that keep us safe. But any extra cosmic rays can have consequences. If the trend continues, astronauts on the Moon or en route to Mars would get a higher dose of space radiation. Robotic space probes and satellites in high Earth orbit face an increased risk of instrument malfunctions and reboots due to cosmic ray strikes. Also, there are controversial studies linking cosmic ray fluxes to cloudiness and climate change on Earth. That link may be tested in the years ahead.
Understanding the Sun, Heliosphere, and Planetary Environments as a single connected system is the goal of the Science Mission Directorate's Heliophysics Research Program. In addition to solar processes, our domain of study includes the interaction of solar plasma and radiation with Earth, the other planets, and the Galaxy. By analyzing the connections between the Sun, solar wind, planetary space environments, and our place in the Galaxy, we are uncovering the fundamental physical processes that occur throughout the Universe. Understanding the connections between the Sun and its planets will allow us to predict the impacts of solar variability on humans, technological systems, and even the presence of life itself. We have already discovered ways to peer into the internal workings of the Sun and understand how the Earth's magnetosphere responds to solar activity. Our challenge now is to explore the full system of complex interactions that characterize the relationship of the Sun with the solar system. Understanding these connections is especially critical as we contemplate our destiny in the third millennium. Heliophysics is needed to facilitate the accelerated expansion of human experience beyond the confines of our Earthly home. Recent advances in technology allow us, for the first time, to realistically contemplate voyages beyond the solar system. There are three primary objectives that define the multi-decadal studies needed: To understand the changing flow of energy and matter throughout the Sun, Heliosphere, and Planetary Environments. To explore the fundamental physical processes of space plasma systems. To define the origins and societal impacts of variability in the Earth-Sun System.