Los Alamos Astronomers have a WTF? Moment

From Science News:

Well, it seems that our solar system is in it’s own bubble.  Let’s hope it holds up better than the tech/ real estate/ commodities/ stock market bubbles…..

I like it when scientists are forced to liberally reassess their assumptions.  I don’t mean the slight deviations in data or feedback. I mean the “OMG! WTF! We totally weren’t expecting THAT!” sort of reassessment. It keeps them honest.



And it keeps me interested.  Double Bonus.


The edge of the solar system is tied up with a ribbon, astronomers have discovered. The first global map of the solar system reveals that its edge is nothing like what had been predicted. Neutral atoms, which are the only way to image the fringes of the solar system, are densely packed into a narrow ribbon rather than evenly distributed.

“Our maps show structure and energy spectra that are completely different from what any model has predicted,” says study coauthor Herbert Funsten of the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.

NASA’s Interstellar Boundary Explorer satellite, or IBEX, discovered the narrow ribbon, which completes nearly a full circle across the sky. The density of neutral atoms in the band is two to three times that in adjacent regions.

These and related findings, reported in six papers posted online October 15 in Science, will not only send theorists back to the drawing board, researchers say, but may ultimately provide new insight on the interaction between the heliosphere — the vast bubble in which the solar system resides — and surrounding space.