NASA’s Voyager 2 Discovered Fierce Battle At The Edge Of The Solar System

Our solar system is encapsuled in a bubble of solar wind, called the heliosphere, which protects it from cosmic rays. The hot particles coming from the sun bathes the entire solar system in radiation, creating the solar wind. At the edge of the heliosphere, the solar wind collides with powerful cosmic rays.
A recent series of studies published in the journal Nature Astronomy this month reveal that scientists analyzed this cosmic frontier for the first time, using data gathered by Voyager 2. The spacecraft passed through the heliopause into the interstellar space around a year ago.

 

It took  Voyager 2 about a day to pass through the heliopause, and experts discovered that the plasma barrier is hotter and thicker than they previously believed.

Edward Stone, co-author of the study, sayd the shield stops about 70% of cosmic radiation.

“The heliopause is the contact surface where two winds [collide] — the wind from the sun and the wind from space, which comes from supernova that exploded millions of years ago. Only about 30% of what’s outside of the bubble can get in,” Stone said.

Even more, the researchers found that the boundaries of the heliopause are not as uniform as anticipated. It contains porous holes through which interstellar radiation can leak.

On our side of the heliopause, V2 detected two such holes, where radiation levels are higher than normal.

The solar wind might not completely protect our solar system but, according to the discoveries made by Voyager 2, it manages to separate our solar system from the ferocious cosmic rays coming from interstellar sppace.

 

Andreea Osu
Andreea Osu likes to think of herself as an adult that has her life sorted out. In reality, she is a young woman trying to find out what the real world is about. Her passions include medicine, psychology and anything tech-related. Writing is an occupation she picked up after finishing high-school and, according to her, seeing her articles published fulfills one of her childhood dreams.