Posted by BC on October 16th, 2009
A new mystery has presented itself to scientists mapping the heliosphere that surrounds our Solar System. The mystery comes in the form of a “…bright filament of unknown origin.” The filament is made up of energetic neural atoms (ENAs), that appeared on the map.
NASA has been using IBEX (Interstellar Boundary Explorer) to do the mapping of the heliosphere. The heliosphere is a vast bubble of magnetism that protects the Solar System from potentially hazardous galactic radiation. Mapping of accomplished by detecting particles in the magnetic bubble and registering them. The filament showed up as a bright “ribbon” of particles.
The answer to the ribbon will not be gift wrapped for NASA scientists. They plan to map the heliosphere again to see if any changes in the ribbon are detected. More on the new mystery.