In 2009 astronomers using NASA’s Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) spacecraft accidentally came across a giant ribbon-like formation snaking its way across the boundary between our solar system and interstellar space. Ever since, its true nature has remained a riddle astronomers have been unable to solve. But now, they believe they are a step closer to explaining this bizarre structure.
Read more about what scientists have uncovered about this weird structure sitting at the very edge of our solar neighborhood at my article on National Geographic News.
Tags: heliosphere, IBEX
Posted in Solar System, Space Exploration | 1 Comment »
According to a new discovery by NASA probe, our sun is moving through our part of the galaxy slower than previously thought,
From its orbit around Earth, the Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) satellite measured the speeds of interstellar particles entering at the fringes of our solar system, 9 billion miles (14.5 billion kilometers) from the sun.
Plugging the new data into computer models, the IBEX team calculates that the sun is moving at about 52,000 miles (83,700 kilometers) an hour—about 7,000 miles (11,000 kilometers) slower than thought.
Why is this shocking for scientists and what does this mean for our search for life? Read the rest of my story on National Geographic News
Posted in Solar System, Space Exploration, Sun | Comments Off
Media interest was high earlier this week about the first ever observation of atoms from outside of the solar system. The discovery not only helps pinpoint our location in the Milky Way galaxy but gives us tantalizing clues to where our Sun was born. Check out my short TV interview on this exciting finding.
EXTRA: Also my latest Night Sky episode showing how to find the great Orion constellation is now online here.
Tags: heliosphere, IBEX, TV
Posted in Planets, Solar System | Comments Off
NASA astronomers made a stunning announcement today that they’ve discovered that alien particles from distant regions of the Milky Way are bombarding our solar system.
The new observations, made thanks to the IBEX satellite, not only gives us a glimpse of what exists in the so-called interstellar medium—the matter between stars—but also offers clues to the anatomy of our local galactic neighborhood.
How did these alien particles make it to Earth’s vicinity and what does this say about habitability of exoplanets? Read the rest of my story at National Geographic News.
Here is NASA video capsule on what IBEX spacecraft has found….
Tags: heliosphere, IBEX
Posted in Solar System, Space Exploration, Sun, stars | 1 Comment »
“In a discovery that took astronomers by surprise, the first full-sky map of the solar system’s edge-more than 9 billion miles (15 billion kilometers) away-has revealed a bright “ribbon” of atoms called ENAs.The solar system is surrounded by a protective “bubble” called the heliosphere. The narrow ribbon snakes along this bubble’s inner wall….IBEX’s(new orbiting satellite) map shows that the ribbon measures roughly two billion miles (three billion kilometers) long and several hundred thousand miles wide.” Read the full story at National Geographic News.
Also check out my previous blog entry on how NASA is probing the outer frontiers of the solar system.
Tags: heliopause, IBEX
Posted in Solar System, Space Exploration | 233 Comments »