June 11th, 2011 16:47 EST
The Ends of Our Solar System May Be Magnetic
I love finding out anything I can about everyday science. When it comes to space and astronomy I research these subjects even more in depth. Recently, I read where the ends of our Solar System may not be as smooth as a baby`s behind that most scientists at one time suggested.
Every now and then we hear about NASA`s big asset the spacecraft Voyager that is used to go nowhere really but to go to where no man has gone before, sounds like the coming on of Star Trek. And that is exactly what Voyager does it travels to the ends of our solar system and takes detours inside and out of the galaxy to discover new and interesting facts about space and the surrounding planets.
On one of Voyager`s recent space missions, it discovered that though Scientists never imagined this but the ends of our Solar System may be filled with an ocean full of turbulent magnetic bubbles. Scientists recently discovered this hypothesis when they were trying out and using a new computer model to analyze the data being transmitted back to them from Voyager. While in the process of analyzing the data coming back they discovered that the normal magnetic field of the sun that is the furthest away is made up of magnetic bubbles approximately 100 million miles wide.
The magnetic bubbles are created when the magnetic field from the sun reorganizes and the new model suggests that these bubbles are separated from the normal solar magnetic field and are basically structured in self-contained individual structures, almost like they have a mind of their own.
The way the model of the normal suns magnetic field is outlined is the same as on Earth. Like Earth the sun as a North Pole and a South Pole and the magnetic field lines are stretched outward like a normal magnet except in the solar system these magnetic particles are stretched outward by solar winds or by other charged particles that interact with materials that is expelled from other stars in the galaxy since the suns magnetic field extends to the corners of our Milky Way.
Merv Opher an astronomer at Boston University said, Because the sun spins, its magnetic field becomes twisted and wrinkled, a bit like a ballerina`s skirt. Far, far away from the sun, where the
Voyagers are, the folds of the skirt bunch up." (NASA.gov, 2011) So, imagine the tiny magnetic particles spinning so fast that since there are so many of them they become tangled with each other as the sun spins and pulls them in when gravity from the sun spinning is created and then since there are so many magnetic particles being pulled in by the suns gravity they tend to bunch up.
Scientist will be able to understand how the suns magnetic field is structured which will lead them to more insight on how galactic cosmic rays inter our solar system and how the our stars interact with the rest of our galaxy.
Jim Drake a Physicist at the University of Maryland said, "We are still trying to wrap our minds around the implications of the findings, (NASA.gov, 2011) Drake is also one of the colleagues of Merv Opher. So, scientist have discovered there is something different about the ends of our Solar System and as Voyager continues to transmit data, scientist will continue to form their hypothesis about the magnetic theory and continue to analyze more credible information.
For those of you that vaguely remember the history behind the spacecraft Voyager, it was launched in 1977 and has been on a thirty-four year mission to reach the edge of interstellar space. What is Interstellar Space? It is defined as any location outside the Earth`s atmosphere; "the astronauts walked in outer space without a tether"; "the first major milestone in space exploration was in 1957, when the USSR`s Sputnik 1 orbited the Earth" (Free Dictionary) Voyager is currently about ten billion miles away from Earth.
NASA.gov, (http://www.nasa.gov/sunearth) Retrieved 2011
The Free Dictionary by Farlex, Interstellar Space, (www.thefreedictionary.com) Retrieved 2011.