It may look like something you’d see on a continental breakfast table.
This artist, who is depicted as a croissant-shaped mantle, is actually what scientists think our solar system looks like. And now they could have an answer.
A new study has suggested that hydrogen particles from outside might be playing an important role in shaping the shape of the bubble around the sun and planets.
The heliosphere (or the bubble) acts as a shield for objects in the solar systems from the powerful cosmic radiation emitted by supernovas.
Scientists warn that without it, there would be an increase in risk for life on Earth as well as astronauts living in space.
The outside is looking in. This artist who resembles a croissant may be able to explain how scientists think our solar system was formed.
Twin jets of material – known as heliospheric jets – emanate from the sun’s poles but, rather than shooting straight out, they curve round to form the solar system’s tails and look like the points of a croissant (pictured)
Wind and radiation from sun create the heliosphere, which flows outwards into interstellar spaces.
Twin jets of material – known as heliospheric jets – emanate from the sun’s poles but, rather than shooting straight out, they curve round to form the solar system’s tails and look like the points of a croissant.
Boston University’s study now reveals the reasons why the heliosphere forms into pastry-like shapes. This is due to interstellar hydrogen particles.
Because they are equal in positive and neg charge and therefore have no charge whatsoever, the particles cause the heliospheric aircraft to become unstable and bend inwards.
“How does this relate to society?” James Drake of University of Maryland said the bubble, which is produced by the Sun, provides protection from cosmic rays. It can also influence how the radiation enters the heliosphere.
‘There’s lots of theories but, of course, the way that galactic cosmic rays can get in can be impacted by the structure of the heliosphere — does it have wrinkles and folds and that sort of thing?’
The heliosphere shields solar system objects from the powerful cosmic radiation emitted by supernovas (the final blasts of star-dead stars)
Boston University’s study now reveals the reasons why this heliosphere forms into a puffy-like shape. This is due to interstellar hydrogen particles.
Drake was part the team that conducted a Boston University study on astrophysicists led by Merav Opher.
This boundary of solar influence cannot be seen because we are in the heliosphere. It is therefore difficult to see.
Scientists initially thought the shape was like a comet with a long tail at its back and an edge that turned round.
But data from three spacecraft that have travelled to the far reaches of the solar system – two Voyager probes and New Horizons – found that it is more like a croissant.
It is a question Opher wanted to find out why it was shaped in this way, and how unstable heliospheric Jets are.
‘Why do stars and black holes – and our own sun – eject unstable jets?’ Opher said.
“We perceive these jets as projecting irregular columns. [astrophysicists]I have wondered for many years about the causes of these instabilities.
Researchers used a computer simulation to find that the solar jets became “super stable” after the neutron hydrogen particles were removed from the model.
Researchers found that when the jets were returned, they began to bend and the centre axis started wiggling. This indicates that something is very unstable within the heliospheric planes.
The researchers used computer modeling to show that jets from the sun become’super-stable’ after the neutral hydrogen particles are removed.
Opher stated that when the jets were returned, ‘things begin bending and the centre axis begins wiggling. This means that something within the heliospheric planes is becoming very instabile.
The researchers said this happens because of the interaction of the neutral hydrogen particles with the ionized matter in the heliosheath — the outer region of the heliosphere.
Rayleigh-Taylor instability is a result of the interaction between fluids with different densities. The lighter fluid presses against the heavier fluid.
This creates large-scale turbulent in the tails the heliosphere.
“The universe isn’t quiet.” I have been able to identify the root cause of chaos using our BU model. [of the heliosphere’s instability]…. Opher stated that the neutral hydrogen particles are “the neutron particles”.
“This discovery is really a major breakthrough. It’s set us on a path to discover why our model has its distinctive croissant-shaped Heliosphere, and why others don’t.”
The Astrophysical Journal published the study.