beadwindow writes "NASA's IBEX (Interstellar Boundary Explorer) spacecraft has made the first all-sky maps of the heliosphere and the results have taken researchers by surprise. The maps are bisected by a bright, winding ribbon of unknown origin: 'This is a shocking new result,' says IBEX principal investigator Dave McComas of the Southwest Research Institute. 'We had no idea this ribbon existed — or what has created it. Our previous ideas about the outer heliosphere are going to have to be revised.' Another NASA scientist notes, '"This ribbon winds between the two Voyager spacecraft and was not observed by either of them.'"
from the cool-stuff-you've-never-heard-of dept.
Invisible Pink Unicorn writes "A computer model simulation developed at UC Riverside has predicted that in late 2007 to early 2008, the interplanetary spacecraft Voyager 2 will cross the termination shock, the spherical shell around the solar system that marks where the solar wind slows down to subsonic speed. At the termination shock, located at 7-8.5 billion miles from the sun, the solar wind is decelerated to less than the speed of sound. The boundary of the termination shock is not fixed, however, but wobbly, fluctuating in both time and distance from the sun, depending on solar activity. Because of this fluctuation, the spacecraft is also predicted to cross the boundary again in middle 2008. The article abstract is available from The Astrophysical Journal."