The solar wind bubble that protects the earth has been mapped for the first time

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The solar wind bubble that protects the earth has been mapped for the first time

In 2009, using NASA’s Interstellar Boundary Explorer, also known as IBEX, astronomers spied on a bizarre dance-like dance between our solar system and the rest of the interstellar space.

The discovery of the IBEX ribbon, which is invisible to both the telescope and the human eye, was one of the first for scientists to better understand our heli-spare – like a bubble made of solar winds the shield.

A new study published in the Astrophysical Journal has mapped the entire range of this shield, and the data collected could be used to usher in a new era of helium physics research.

“Most particle detectors in space detect charged particles,” said Daniel Reisenfeld, a senior scientist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico and lead author of the study. But IBEX is unique.

It detects energetic neutral atoms, or ENA-ions that actually come from the sun but collide with interstellar electrons, rendering them ineffective. These are found everywhere in nuclear space, and over time, watching the flow of ENA can be a powerful imaging tool.

So what exactly was that mysterious ribbon? Scientists have since determined that what they were seeing is a large range of ENA that illuminates the night sky.

Using IBEX data collected on EBNA when it is just an 11-year chart of the solar cycle, which occurs between changes in the sun’s magnetic field, the researchers created a three-dimensional map of the entire helisphere Resinfield says harmful radiation shields the Earth and other planets. .

“Our earth is constantly bombarded with cosmic rays, galaxy cosmic rays,” he says. These rays can affect compass planes that fly close to the poles, often traveling between Europe or Asia and the United States.

Scientists say that in order to study the astronomy of other planets, we must first understand ourselves when it is called heli-spares when orbiting other stars.

Nikolai Pogorilov, a professor of space science at the University of Alabama at Huntsville, says “a lot of physical models are being developed based on the IBX mission’s findings.” “It’s not just experimental, it’s going to be used for that,” he said [a] The real purpose. “

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