Opher's team reports its findings in tomorrow's issue of the journal Science.
The study has added new wrinkles to evolving views of the interstellar magnetic field, said Randy Jokipii, an astrophysicist at the University of Arizona.
"[The study] does indeed give us a magnetic field which is quite a bit different than that obtained by previous measurements," Jokipii said.
"In the last few years we've seen almost an explosion in our understanding of what I'd call the local interstellar medium and its interaction with the heliosphere," added Jokipii, who provided a perspective article to the Science research.
Free Email News Updates
Sign up for our Inside National Geographic newsletter. Every two weeks we'll send you our top stories and pictures (see sample).
SOURCES AND RELATED WEB SITES