Probing Our Dynamic Outer Solar System

The outskirts of our solar system is a region dominated by the solar wind flowing away from the Sun and encountering the interstellar material (ISM) in space. Solar wind is also magnetized and creates a heliosphere, around our planetary system.

1641 Views | Published on 20th Feb, 2018

The outskirts of our solar system is a region dominated by the solar wind flowing away from the Sun and encountering the interstellar material (ISM) in space.

The solar wind is also magnetized and creates a bubble, called the heliosphere, around our planetary system. The bubble's shape depends on the strength of the wind and the properties of the ISM. But this distant region is difficult to probe. In order to understand what is going on in the heliosphere, data from the Voyager space craft and the International Boundary Explorer (called IBEX) have been used. IBEX is able to measure atoms in the heliosphere and the Voyager spacecraft measure the properties of the plasma field. Importantly though, all this accumulated information must be fed into complicated models to understand the detailed structure of the boundary layer.

Join Tony Darnell and Carol Christian during Afternoon Astronomy Coffee on February 22, 2018 at 3PM Eastern (Daylight) Time as they discuss with Nikolai Pogorelov (University of Alabama), and Jacob Heerikhuisen (University of Alabama) about unraveling the data collected and the success in modeling the heliosphere boundary.

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