A Beautiful Idea: Why Explore Space?

It’s good to be home! After a week sweltering in China for work and turning into a human puddle in 80% humidity, it’s nice to be back in Delhi… where I can swelter and turn into a puddle in 70% … Continue reading A Beautiful Idea: Why Explore Space?

Supernova… Et tu, Eta Carinae.

As seen on Cosmos: Eta Carinae! At the turn of the 19th century, the binary star system Eta Carinae was faint and undistinguished. In the first decades of the century, it became brighter and brighter, until, by April 1843, it … Continue reading Supernova… Et tu, Eta Carinae.

Hubble spots the Eye of Sauron! In Space!?!

Floating at the centre of this new Hubble image is a lidless purple eye, staring back at us through space. This ethereal object, known officially as [SBW2007] 1 but sometimes nicknamed SBW1, is a nebula with a giant star at … Continue reading Hubble spots the Eye of Sauron! In Space!?!

Reassessing Heroism

When anyone uses the term “hero”, everyone (myself included) almost instinctively think of people who are brave in the face of death and who are self-sacrificing – we think of the idealised figures like Che Guevara, Rob Roy, Tipu Sultan, … Continue reading Reassessing Heroism

Voyager 1 Encounters New Region in Deep Space

This still image and set of animations show NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft exploring a new region in our solar system called the "magnetic highway." In this region, the sun's magnetic field lines are connected to interstellar magnetic field lines, allowing particles from inside the heliosphere to zip away and particles from interstellar space to zoom in.
This still image and set of animations show NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft exploring a new region in our solar system called the “magnetic highway.” In this region, the sun’s magnetic field lines are connected to interstellar magnetic field lines, allowing particles from inside the heliosphere to zip away and particles from interstellar space to zoom in.

December 03, 2012

PASADENA, Calif. — NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft has entered a new region at the far reaches of our solar system that scientists feel is the final area the spacecraft has to cross before reaching interstellar space.

Scientists refer to this new region as a magnetic highway for charged particles because our sun’s magnetic field lines are connected to interstellar magnetic field lines. This connection allows lower-energy charged particles that originate from inside our heliosphere — or the bubble of charged particles the sun blows around itself — to zoom out and allows higher-energy particles from outside to stream in. Before entering this region, the charged particles bounced around in all directions, as if trapped on local roads inside the heliosphere.

The Voyager team infers this region is still inside our solar bubble because the direction of the magnetic field lines has not changed. The direction of these magnetic field lines is predicted to change when Voyager breaks through to interstellar space. The new results were described at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco on Monday.

Continue reading “Voyager 1 Encounters New Region in Deep Space”