8. Solar System Is "Bullet Shaped"
(originally posted May 10, 2007)
A graphic depicts the solar system
, encased in an envelope of charged particles (yellow), as it passes through the interstellar magnetic field of the Milky Way galaxy (brown lines).
A study that appeared in the May 11 issue of the journal Science
used data from the far-flung Voyager spacecraft to determine that the solar system takes on a bulletlike shape as it passes through space.
"The shape of the solar system, this bullet, is really shaped by what lies ahead of usthe interstellar magnetic field," said study leader Merav Opher at Virginia's George Mason University.
"The [prevailing] idea is that the environment just outside our solar system is patchy and turbulent," she added.
"There are lots of stars exploding and dying outside our solar system."
Read the full story
by Brian Handwerk.
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Image courtesy Opher et al., 2007/Science