Probe Spots Possible Wall of Hydrogen at Edge of the Solar System

Earth And Solar System

The Solar System's boundary is a hard-to-define location-after the end of the solar wind's influence, there's still the theorised Oort cloud, an icy sphere of comets orbiting the Sun a third of the way to our nearest neighbouring star. But eventually, the Sun's energy should wane, creating a boundary where interstellar hydrogen piles up at the edge of the outward pressure caused by the solar wind's energy.

"We're seeing the threshold between being in the solar neighborhood and being in the galaxy", Leslie Young, astronomer at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, told ScienceNews.

For the last several years, NASA's New Horizons probe has been speeding toward the outer limits of the solar system.

New evidence points that the matter and energy carried by the solar winds accumulate in a particular region building hydrogen wall.

The New Horizons spacecraft, now at a distance almost four billion miles from Earth and already far beyond Pluto, has measured what appears to be a signature of the furthest reaches of the Sun's energy-a wall of hydrogen.

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The signal was recorded by New Horizons' Alice instrument, an ultraviolet telescope that scanned the sky before the spacecraft's historic flyby of Pluto in 2015 - which ended up uncovering the planet's 50-mile long dunes are actually made out of methane, the Inquisitr reported earlier this year. That replicates an ultraviolet signal the two Voyager spacecraft - NASA's farthest-traveling probes, which launched in the late 1970s - spotted all the way back in 1992.

"This additional brightness is a possible signature of the hydrogen wall at the heliopause or of a more distant background", researchers wrote in a new paper, published this week in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

There's a "hydrogen wall" at the edge of our solar system, and NASA scientists think their New Horizons spacecraft can see it. "If New Horizons will give us the opportunity, we will try to portray it".

Also the glow could come from other powerful sources far beyond the Solar system. It is located at the edge of our solar system. New Horizons will be looking for the boundary about twice a year for the rest of the mission.

"If the ultraviolet light drops off at some point, then New Horizons may have left the wall in its rearview mirror", the researchers explained in an accompanying statement. But if the light never fades, then its source could be farther ahead - coming from somewhere deeper in space, says team member Wayne Pryor of Central Arizona College in Coolidge.

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