Our solar system has a tail.


Our solar system has a tail. The tail is a stream of solar wind plasma — charged particles — and magnetic field, trailing off behind the heliosphere. The heliosphere is a magnetic bubble that surrounds our solar system, as well as the solar wind and our sun’s magnetic field. This bubble doesn’t stop at the planets — it extends at least 8 billion miles beyond them.

Everything is so amazing and sometimes so impossible to imagine!

Comments

  1. Scr... Archivist says

    Ms. Nasreen,

    Just a reminder for your readers that the Guardian Express website from Las Vegas is not The Guardian newspaper from the U.K. In fact, PZ Myers had a bone to pick with the Express’ Science Editor a few weeks ago: http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/06/23/stasia-bliss-disgraceful-phony-fraud-and-quack/

    The link in the Guardian Express post is to Russia Today. Maybe the article from the Smithsonian’s blog would be better? http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/smartnews/2013/07/for-the-first-time-nasa-took-a-photo-of-the-suns-tail/

  2. MaryL says

    It was a long time ago, but I remember being taught that our solar system is in motion. Moons orbit planets; planets orbit stars; stars may or may not orbit, but are in motion. So, a tailed star fits with this idea.

  3. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    @4. MaryL :

    It was a long time ago, but I remember being taught that our solar system is in motion.

    Absolutely true. Everything is in motion – and our Sun is orbiting the centre of Milky Way Galaxy.

    “Since our Sun was formed more than 4 billion years ago, it has travelled around the Galaxy 16 times. ”
    Source : “Two of the Milky Way’s Spiral Arms Go Missing.” NASA e-newsletter news release 2008-June-4th.

    “A scale model : If a galaxy’s central bulge were a hundred miles across, its central supermassive black hole would be roughly the size of a sand grain.”

    Source : Page 14, “NewsNotes” in ’Sky &Telescope’ magazine, April 2011, VP Publishing.

    (NB. Our yellow dwarf star and our whole solar system on that scale would be as small as the full stop at the end of this sentence. Maybe smaller.)

    “Yet here we are with our eyes and our minds and our curiosity, six billion passengers aboard a tiny blue boat, bobbing and wheeling our way around one vast Catherine wheel among many.”
    Source : page 246, Ferris, ‘Seeing in the Dark’, Simon & Schuster, 2002.

    And so far, the only metaphorical “boat” in all those “catherine wheels” that we used to call “island universes” that carries life and minds and love aboard it.

    We are staggeringly small yet staggering rare and precious and would do well to keep both those things in mind.

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