Skip to main content

View Diary: Breaking News: Mankind leaves the solar system Update w/ pics (202 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  question: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brown Thrasher, MRA NY

    how do we define the edge of the solar system?


    "Just because you win the fight, don't mean you're right," - Funkadelic

    by AlyoshaKaramazov on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 12:40:08 PM PDT

    •  zackly! (6+ / 0-)

      I had always thought that it ended in the Oort Cloud (about one light year out).

      The Heliopause is where the Solar Wind becomes distorted by the interstellar medium, and given drift and relative movement, is a tear-drop-shaped and dynamic environment.

      The Oort Cloud is gravitationally bound by Sol (that be the name of our sun, btw), and so is a much more static and easily identifiable border.

      Any Kos Astronomers wanna weigh-in here?

      We haven't met but you're a great fan of mine

      by Great Cthulhu on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 12:47:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  found an answer. (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        exterris, dewtx, SherwoodB, Aunt Pat, MRA NY
        Scientists have been anticipating this moment for years but the boundary between the edge of the solar system and what's called interstellar space has been something of a moving target. Astronomers say it's the point where the stream of electrically charged particles from our sun, called the solar wind, peter out and in turn the cosmic rays from distant exploding stars coming from other directions become the dominant form of radiation.

        The distances are somewhat mind-boggling. Pluto is about 3.7 billion miles from the sun. Voyager is now about 17 billion miles away, where any signal it sends takes 17 hours to reach Earth.

        For several years, the spacecraft, launched in 1977, has been crossing through the edge of the "heliosphere," the bubble of charged solar particles created by the solar wind that shields our solar system from these distant galactic rays. The size of the heliosphere expands and contracts depending on the strength of the solar wind.


        "Just because you win the fight, don't mean you're right," - Funkadelic

        by AlyoshaKaramazov on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 12:58:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site