The New Horizons probe has detected a glow at the edge of the Solar System
The New Horizons probe has observed an ultraviolet glow that seems to emanate from a “wall” of hydrogen located at the very edge of the Solar System. Researchers believe this structure is the outer boundary of our planetary system, and beyond it is interstellar space.
The New Horizons probe was launched into space in January 2006. Its goal was to take measurements of theow and exploring Pluto and its moonow. This goal was reached in 2015. The second of the targetsow is to study one of the objectsow located in the Kuiper Belt called 2014 MU69.
Observed by the probe „wall” Hydrogen is the outer boundary of the solar system – believe researchers. The place where the influence of our Sun ends and the steady stream of charged particles called the solar wind begins to weaken. Beyond this limit, the wind pressureoIn galactic outweighs the solar wind pressure. A huge area of wokoł of the Sun, where the pressure of the solar wind prevails over the galactic winds is called the heliosphere.
Just beyond the edge of this bubble, about 100 times farther from the Sun than Earth, uncharged hydrogen atoms in interstellar space should slow down as they collide with solar wind particles. This accumulation of hydrogen should in turn scatter ultraviolet radiation in a characteristic mannerob. And such has been observed.
The hydrogen barrier was detected with the Alice instrument, whichory is located aboard the New Horizons probe. This is the ultraviolet telescope and spectrometer. GloAlice’s primary goal in the New Horizons mission was to gather information about the conditions of theoin Pluto’s atmosphere. Now scientists have used it to study the edges of the Solar System, and it is thanks to it that an ultraviolet glow has been detected.
The Voyager I and Voyager II probes observed traces of similar light scattering 30 years ago. New Horizons is the first spacecraft thatory can check the observations of the Voyager probes. It scanned the sky with the Alice instrument seven times between 2007 and 2017. During one recent mapping, a change in ultraviolet light was observed in a wayob, whichory supports years of observations. But the compositeoł scientistow warns that the light may also come from an unknown sourceobottom located further out in the galaxy.
In a new article published in „Geophysical Research Letters” scientists describe the occultation accomplished thanks to New Horizons. – We have observed prog between the space of our solar system and the galaxy – said Leslie Young of the Southwest Research Institute, one of the cooroveroin the publication.
„The best explanation for the observed light is that it is not only the result of the scattering of sunlight by hydrogen atoms in the solar system, but contains a significant contribution from the distant source of theodła” – reads the publication. Scientists believe that „wall” Hydrogen may have been formed by interstellar winds encountering our local solar wind.
The end of the New Horizons mission is scheduled for June 2022, but if the probe is in good condition, the mission could continue. This has happened in many cases. The Opportunity rover was supposed to be on Mars for three months, but it is now 13 years old. Not to mention the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 probes, ktore were supposed to explore Jupiter and Saturn, and is currently the most distant and still operational object sent into space by man.