Tuesday, November 30, 2010

tuesday night, interstellar space and dark bodies, madness

Tuesday is the night that I take the garbage down to the road. Two large plastic receptacles on sturdy wheels, each mostly full of the previous seven days' detritus. The distance to the road a little less than two tenths of a mile.

While I walk in the night, without a flashlight usually, I look up at the sky. Tonight it was drizzling and overcast, nothing much to see.

So I thought about things I
read today that had to do with the sky and the stars and the sun and interstellar space and I was interested to read that most everything that had been theorized prior to 2009 was now thrown out, based on some
evidence gathered by a space probe in 2009.

The edge of the heliosphere is the furthest reach of the sun's electromagnetic solar wind. You can think of it as a kind of shell or balloon skin, because the force emanating away from the sun pushes interstellar matter away from the solar system.

Forget about the model of the solar system as a set of little balls orbiting around one big ball, and think of it as an egg, filled with the radiating, bursting energy of the big ball as well as those little balls that revolve around it, the shell of the egg is the furthest reach of the energy. You can read the article, but the point is that at first they thought the egg was like a comet, with stuff trailing behind it as the sun races along it's course around the galactic center.

But that isn't the case. It is looking more like it is not only not a comet, but not necessarily an egg. It might be "bumpy", like an osage orange. And it is also not "even"-- there is a bright band of energized atoms that does not correspond with a plane that runs through the sun's equator.

The sun rotates once every 27 days. It is like a big washing machine agitator, the way the ripples of solar wind come out of it along its equator. Most of the planets' orbits are on that equatorial plane, more or less. So, if there was a bright band of energetic atoms on the outside of the "shell" you might expect that it would run along the plane of the sun's equator, but that is not the case. Instead it seems to be along the plane of some extra-solar force, maybe from along the plane of the galatic center.

Maybe it corresponds to the orbit of some most distant companion to the Sun which has been proposed: Jupiter-esque, giant, dark body that may be the troublemaker that nudges objects from the Oort cloud (which is outside the heliosphere) down into the Solar System's interior. As this companion travels along it's lonely, distant orbit at the very boundary of the sun's influence, it mixes the interstellar material with that of the heliosphere, causing this bright band in it's path and moving bits of stuff from the Oort cloud.

If this were the case, it would seem that there would be a particularly energetic spot in the bright band right around the vicinity of the companion, and that energetic spot would move in an orbit around the most distant sun. I see such a spot on this map, it is reddish, in the lower left-- but not sure if it moves along the supposed path:

But at the very least there is an extrasolar force that interacts with, and effects, the heliosphere, and that heliosphere is organized and bubble-like. That extrasolar force may be the Oort 'nudger', or it may be the postulated dark companion.


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