As a team of researchers led by a Boston University astrophysicist unveils a new model of our heliosphere, we learn how many possibilities are up there in our Solar System. Scientists had long debated the shape of the heliosphere, stating it resembles more a comet than a sphere.
First, there was the 2015 research that utilized a new computer model and information from the Voyager 1. Back then, a collaboration between the Boston University Center for Space Physics and the University of Maryland, explained that the heliosphere has a crescent shape, resembling a “croissant.” From such a statement, it began the most recent survey, promising more detailed results.
The Weird Shape of the Solar System’s Heliosphere Magnetic Field
After the “croissant” shape statement, another vision of the heliosphere has been released by the Cassini spacecraft. Cassini scientists timed the particles echoing off the edge of the heliosphere and correlated them with ions measured by the Voyager 2.
They assumed that the heliosphere is pretty much round and symmetrical. So, the comet-like pattern or the croissant concept doesn’t match at all. It seems the heliosphere is resembling a beach ball a lot, dismissing the idea that assumed for over 55 years that the protective bubble had a comet tail.
NASA’s New Horizons space probe, which is now examing the space beyond Pluto, has unveiled lots of data on the magnetic field of the heliosphere. For example, those particles become around hundreds or nearly thousands of times hotter than t regular solar wind carried away ions.
By modeling the temperature, velocity, and density of the groups of particles separately got some results. They have noticed the particles’ outsized influence on the heliosphere’s magnetic field in the Solar System. Avi Loeb from the Harvard University stated: “If we want to understand our environment, we’d better understand all the way through this heliosphere.”