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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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ScienceShot: How to Tie a Ribbon Round the Solar System
5 February 2013 4:10 pm
More than 3 years ago, stunned space physicists reported the discovery of a narrow band of sky lit up in the cameras of the Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) like some Milky Way on fire. High-powered hydrogen atoms, rather than light, were streaming toward the Earth-orbiting spacecraft from near where the sun's wind of charged particles encounters the magnetic field that courses between the stars. A dozen theories later, a pair of IBEX researchers report this week in The Astrophysical Journal that the interstellar magnetic field (thin gray lines wrapping around the region filled by solar wind) may be temporarily trapping and concentrating out-bound particles. The trapping would be most effective where the solar wind squarely crosses interstellar magnetic field lines (gray "life preserver"). IBEX would "see" particles that escape the trap in the sun's direction as the ribbon, here rendered in reds, yellows, and greens. The craft should thoroughly test the trapping idea as the sun's activity varies in the years ahead.
See more ScienceShots.