New Horizons may have seen a glow at the solar system’s edge

James Marshall
August 13, 2018

The Voyager spacecraft first gathered data which indicated the existence of a barrier at the edge of the "heliosphere", the name for a bubble around our solar system formed by the solar wind.

The powerful solar wind from the sun flows outward continuously, passing far beyond even Pluto's region.

"We're seeing the threshold between being in the solar neighborhood and being in the galaxy", says team member Leslie Young of the Southwest Research Institute, based in Boulder, Colo.

NASA researchers trust they have discovered new proof of a unusual "divider" encompassing our close planetary system.

In the diary Geophysical Research Letters, the NASA researchers composed: 'Long‐term perceptions made with the Alice instrument on the New Horizons rocket affirm estimations made 30 thirty years sooner with the Voyager shuttle.

The New Horizons spacecraft, now at a distance almost four billion miles from Earth and already far beyond Pluto, has measured what appears to be a signature of the furthest reaches of the Sun's energy-a wall of hydrogen. Astronomers predicted that the glow might come from a long-sought wall of hydrogen that represents where the sun's influence wanes.

'Both sets of data are best explained if the observed ultraviolet light is not only a result of the scattering of sunlight by hydrogen atoms within the solar system but includes a substantial contribution from a distant source.

The ultraviolet observations are similar to those made by the Voyager spacecraft some 30 years ago.

A giant hydrogen wall has been spotted at the edge of this Solar System, and scientists of NASA think that their new Horizon Spacecraft can witness it. It scanned the ultraviolet sky seven times from 2007 to 2017, space scientist Randy Gladstone of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio and colleagues report.

As these two opposing winds butt up against each other, scientists believe hydrogen accumulates in a wall-like structure. New Horizons will be looking for the boundary about twice a year for the rest of the mission.

All three probes could have actually detected the ultraviolet light from some other source, emanating from much deeper in the galaxy, the researchers wrote. "That could help figure out the shape and variability of the solar system's boundary". "But if the light never fades, then its source could be farther ahead - coming from somewhere deeper in space".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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