We could be living in a giant crescent-shaped bubble in space, scientists say. Now NASA is on the case

We all live in a bubble in space. If this is news to you, it shouldn’t be. A few years ago I wrote about the amazing discovery by a team of astronomers led by Boston University that helio-sphere– the vast region around the Sun extending more than twice as far as Pluto – should really now be called the helio-croissant. Why? Because it has the shape of a crescent!

NASA has just announced a new five-year grant to allow scientists to advance their groundbreaking work and study how the sun influences and shapes the solar system. The space agency’s $12 million investment will be spread across nine new heliospheric research centers at universities across the United States

The crescent-shaped heliosphere is an incredible concept, but it’s gaining traction. Imagine a comet whizzing through space, its tail trailing behind it. This is what astronomers thought our solar system looked like, its heliosphere extending behind it as it orbits the center of our Milky Way galaxy.

A stretched bubble? Perhaps. What size? It’s not clear. The study of the heliosphere is a cutting-edge science because little is known about it. Here’s what astronomers know:

  • Inside the heliosphere there is a constant storm of heated and charged particles from the Sun.
  • The bubble of heliosphere shelters life on Earth from destructive cosmic rays from supernovae.
  • It is the region of space that the Sun commands; its sphere of influence and the extent of the solar wind – charged particles spewed out by the Sun – which extends far beyond the orbits of the planets.
  • At the edges of the heliosphere is where the solar wind meets the interstellar wind.
  • It projects a field of magnetic force around all the planets, deflecting charged particles that would otherwise enter the solar system…and destroy DNA. Or mutate it, which could have created us.

Researchers who study exoplanets are keen to compare the Sun’s heliosphere with those around other stars.

Known as the SHIELD model, the solar wind with hydrogen ion exchange and large-scale dynamics that postulates the crescent theory was developed by 40 astrophysicists led by SHIELD DRIVE Science Center principal investigator and Boston professor Merav Opher. University College of Arts & Sciences. of astronomy.

“We increasingly understand the importance of the heliosphere to life on Earth, as well as to how the climate was on Earth,” Opher said. “But right now, from what we understand of the heliosphere, there is a missing source of energy – and we don’t know what it is. It means that something inside the heliosphere is producing energy.

New NASA-funded research will help the SHIELD team create a “digital twin” of the heliosphere to:

  • Allow for better future exploration of the solar system.
  • Tell us more about how the changing cloud of gas that our solar system is going through is affecting life on Earth.
  • Help the effort to find another life in our Milky Way galaxy.

I wish you clear skies and big eyes.

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