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Old January 16 2010, 06:32 PM   #1
Psion
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NASA Finds the Nexus

"NASA's IBEX (Interstellar Boundary Explorer) spacecraft has made the first all-sky maps of the heliosphere and the results have taken researchers by surprise. The maps are bisected by a bright, winding ribbon of unknown origin..."

Hyperlink to be installed on Tuesday.
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Old January 16 2010, 10:19 PM   #2
ZUUL-iet
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Re: NASA Finds the Nexus

An interesting find. I'd comment on this more, but unfortunately I have an appointment with Eternity, and I don't want to be late.
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Old January 17 2010, 01:21 AM   #3
LitmusDragon
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Re: NASA Finds the Nexus

Why would he destroy a star?

I've got to stop him!
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Old January 17 2010, 05:07 AM   #4
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Re: NASA Finds the Nexus

Hmm, the Nexus's odd temporal properties must be manifesting, since this news is three months old. Of course, what's interesting here is what this pattern of ionized gases reveals about the shape of Sol's magnetosphere and how it interacts with the interstellar medium beyond. Apparently it's a lot more spherical than we thought and doesn't have the same kind of "tail" as a planet's magnetic field blown by the solar wind.
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Old January 17 2010, 07:47 AM   #5
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Re: NASA Finds the Nexus

LitmusDragon wrote: View Post
Why would he destroy a star?

I've got to stop him!
Time is the fire that burns within all of us.....

Now off to my Victorian wife and children

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Old January 17 2010, 11:48 AM   #6
Asbo Zaprudder
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Re: NASA Finds the Nexus

I wonder if the "ribbon" is due to magnetic reconnection where the heliospheric neutral current sheet in the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) interacts with the galactic magnetic field. That's one mechanism for producing a feature with this geometry that would be capable of accelerating particles. (There may be others that I haven't thought of, of course.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heliospheric_current_sheet

If the ribbon lies roughly in the plane of the ecliptic, that would tend to confirm the hypothesis. If the ribbon were to disappear temporarily when the IMF switches polarity at the end of an 11-year solar cycle, that would also be indicative.

ETA: The theorists took less than two months to produce a viable explanation in terms of the galactic magnetic field acting as a kind of particle mirror:

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/ib...ic-mirror.html

I'd still like to know if the current sheet has any influence.
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Old January 17 2010, 02:32 PM   #7
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Re: NASA Finds the Nexus

Oh shit...
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