New Horizons Spacecraft Spots Possible Hydrogen Wall At The Edge Of Solar System

Posted: Aug 12 2018, 12:50pm CDT | by , in Latest Science News


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New Horizons Spacecraft Spots Possible Hydrogen Wall at the Edge of Solar System
Credits: NASA

The hydrogen wall was first detected in 1992 by Voyager spacecraft

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft has spotted the possible hydrogen wall in the outer reaches of our solar system.

Hydrogen wall is a region of space where our sun's bubble of solar wind ends or begins to interact with interstellar medium. As the interstellar medium pushes the bubble-like space inwards, a boundary is created where interstellar hydrogen builds up. The visible boundary that extends far beyond the orbit of Pluto was first detected in 1992 by the two Voyager spacecraft as it traveled through interstellar space and the heliosphere. Now, 30 years later, NASA’s New Horizons mission confirms the presence of hydrogen wall at the edge of our solar system.

Our Sun releases charged particles outward and causes hydrogen in the space between planets to emit characteristic ultraviolet light. In August, New Horizons detected added brightness to this ultraviolet emission using Alice instrument.

“This additional brightness is a possible signature of the hydrogen wall at the heliopause or of a more distant background. Ongoing observations are planned at a cadence of roughly twice per year.” Authors wrote in the study.

As New Horizons will gets farther away from the sun and closer to the edge of the solar system, the observations made with its Alice instrument will become more accurate and reliable.

“We assume there’s something extra out there, some extra source of brightness. If we get a chance with New Horizons we can maybe image it.” Study author Randy Gladstone from the Southwest Research Institute told Gizmodo.

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is heading towards a small Kuiper Belt object (KBO) called 2014 MU69 that orbits nearly a billion miles beyond Pluto. In just under a year, the mission will make a close approach to this most primitive and most distant object ever observed by spacecraft.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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