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Detected: Wall of hydrogen around the solar system

galactic debris, including hydrogen wall/NASA, Alder Planetarium

Hydrogen. One outcome of the exploration of Pluto and the surrounding area:

So, what is this wall? We call it “space,” but space isn’t completely empty. Even in between stars there are some stray atoms and bits of dust. Clouds of neutral hydrogen atoms float through interstellar space, but the sun can affect how they’re distributed. Our local star emits a continuous stream of charged particles, which we call the solar wind. This outward force expands into a “bubble” around the solar system. The neutral hydrogen near our solar system slows down when it hits the solar wind, causing the atoms to build up into a “wall” structure.

The researchers are fairly confident in their assessment of the hydrogen wall, but New Horizons will continue making occasional observations of the wall twice per year as it continues moving outward. Ryan Whitwam, “New Horizons Detects Wall of Hydrogen Around the Solar System” at ExtremeTech

But from Rafi Letzter at LiveScience:

However, the researchers cautioned, that signal isn’t a sure sign that New Horizons has seen the hydrogen wall, or that Voyager did. All three probes could have actually detected the ultraviolet light from some other source, emanating from much deeper in the galaxy, the researchers wrote.

But Alice, the instrument on board New Horizons responsible for this finding, is much more sensitive than anything the Voyagers had on board before beginning their own journey out of the solar system, the researchers wrote. And they said they expect Alice to function 15 to 20 more years.[name], “NASA Spotted a Vast, Glowing ‘Hydrogen Wall’ at the Edge of Our Solar System” at LiveScience

Readers, so far as we know, does the “wall” do anything for us? Is this more fine-tuning?

See also: What becomes of science when the evidence does not matter?


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