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A NASA spacecraft was the first to spot a strange ribbon of energy and particles at the edge of the solar system. Scientists have said that it appears to be a 'roadmap in the sky' for the interstellar magnetic field.
NASA's Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) discovered the solar system's mysterious energy ribbon in 2009. Scientists are observing the mysterious energy ribbon to gain a better insight into how the sun's environment protects that solar system from high-energy cosmic rays.
"What I always have been trying to do was to establish a clear connection between the very high-energy cosmic rays we're seeing (from the ground) and what IBEX is seeing", study leader Nathan Schwadron, a physicist at the University of New Hampshire, told Space.com.
Scientists believe that a better understanding of this energy ribbon could help them find details about the boundary between our solar system and interstellar space.
Prior to IBEX, NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft provided the only source of information to find answers from the boundary in question. The spacecraft is now trying to find the outer extent of the Sun's magnetic field and solar wind, called heliopause.
For the first time, astronomers were able to see a string of hot gas known as a filament that is thought to be part of the mysterious underlying structure that dictates the layout of all the stars and galaxies in our universe.