Astronomers create a 3D map of the sun’s mantle

For the first time, astronomers have drawn the boundaries of our solar system, the so-called mantle.

a giant space bubble enveloping the solar system, stretching tens of billions of kilometers and protecting us from harmful interstellar radiation; This is perhaps the best way to describe the heliosphere. Somewhere, of course, that giant region ends; In the so-called mantle of the sun. But where exactly is this? Astronomers have now created a 3D map of that boundary for the first time. At this point, the solar wind is stopped by interstellar space.

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heliosphere f-pause

Back to the heliosphere for a moment. This bubble continues through the interaction between the solar wind – a stream of charged particles constantly ejected by our parent star – and particles from other stars. These interstellar stellar particles are blocked by strong solar winds, but this backpressure diminishes with increasing distance from the Sun. This creates an equilibrium at tens of billions of kilometers: the interstellar particles of the Sun and other stars “push” against each other with equal force.

But at some point, the solar wind energy is no longer strong enough and it is getting bigger
interstellar medium the upper hand. The point at which it occurs is known as the heliosphere. The heliosphere, also called the “gateway” of interstellar space, is in turn the edge of the heliosphere: the boundary layer around the heliosphere.

IBEX Satellite

Astronomers at Los Alamos National Laboratory have now developed a 3-D map of this heliosphere. To do this, the team used 11 years of data – as a whole solar cycle long – collected by NASA’s Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) satellite between 2009 and 2019. The satellite launched in 2008 and has been in a very long orbit ever since. IBEX is equipped with two particle detectors. This is used to map what is happening at the boundary between the field of influence of the solar wind and interstellar space.

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The first 3D map of the boundary between our solar system and interstellar space, the heliosphere. © Los Alamos National Laboratory

The new 3D map of the heliosphere, which is also the first, shows that the shortest distance between the Sun and the boundary of the solar wind is 120 astronomical units (AU). (One astronomical unit is equal to the distance from the Earth to the Sun). In the opposite direction, this distance is 350 AU.

For years, physicists and astronomers have been arguing about the heliosphere and where exactly this boundary is. This is the detailed map published by the team Astrophysical Journal مجلةanswer it.

Resources: The Astrophysical Journal Supplementary SeriesAnd the New AtlasAnd the ScienceAlert

Photo: NASA/IBEX

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