Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The giant bubbles at the solar system's edge

Solar system Edge
A pair of NASA spacecraft on a decades-long journey in deep space have found a "big surprise": Giant magnetic bubbles churning near the outer edges of our solar system. (See an image below.) Here, a guide to the findings:

What exactly has NASA found?
Unexpected magnetic bubbles, "shaped like sausages, more than 100 million miles across," says William Harwood at CNET. Scientists had believed the structure of the magnetic field at the boundary between our solar system and interstellar space "was relatively smooth." But the data NASA has gotten from its two Voyager spacecraft suggest otherwise. "It's very bubbly as far as we can tell," says Jim Drake, a University of Maryland physicist, as quoted by National Geographic. "This entire thing is like the most bubbly part of your Jacuzzi."

Why are these bubbles there?

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