Here's a fact about astronomy I was unfamiliar with: as our sun, and with it, our entire solar system, zips around the galaxy, it creates " a bubble of charged particles and magnetic fields known as the heliosphere". Surprisingly, this heliosphere protects us from cosmic rays which originate in deep space! Who knew?! An excerpt:
"'The heliosphere screens out about 90 percent of cosmic rays,' McComas said. 'If not for the heliosphere, cosmic rays could affect things like human space travel and even potentially things on Earth. It's interesting to consider that maybe astrospheres are needed as a prerequisite for life around stars, to protect systems from galactic cosmic radiation.'
The fact that our solar system lacks a bow shock could actually mean we are slightly more protected from cosmic rays than before thought.
'The slower speed the sun is traveling at with respect to the local interstellar medium means that at the moment, there is less compression of the heliosphere, so there's a larger region to deflect cosmic rays,' McComas said. 'However, in the distant past, as the sun goes in its orbit around the galaxy, it surely went through dense clouds, so maybe the heliosphere got squeezed then, and we were more affected by galactic radiation. Surely that will happen again in the distant future.'"
How awesome! Thanks for the article ... learned something .. I like to learn things
This is so interesting! Explanations were clear, although, I suppose very simplified. I really like the photos. Thanks Jedi.
Hey Joan. Some articles in Science Daily on this that go a little deeper, if you're interested. Really fascinating stuff, huh?