Home LATEST NEWS Is the solar system surrounded by a magnetic tunnel?

Is the solar system surrounded by a magnetic tunnel?


Dr. Jennifer West and her colleagues have shown that the North Polar Spur (North Polar Spur) and the Range Region (Fan Region), two distinct structures observed for decades in our galaxy, the Milky Way, are in fact connected.

When viewed in radio wavelengths, these two regions appear to be made up of dozens of long filaments that eventually take on the general shape of a tunnel that surrounds our solar system.

The curve of a tunnel, with the lines formed by the tunnel lights and the traffic lane markers.

The curve of a tunnel, with the lines formed by lights and traffic lane markers. This geometry would be similar to that of the astronomical structure.

Photo: University of Toronto / Pixabay / J. West

If we were able to perceive radio light with our eyes, we would see this tunnel-like structure in just about every direction we look., explains Jennifer West in a statement released by the University.

The two structures would be made up of charged particles and would form a magnetic field.

Map of the Milky Way.

Map of the Milky Way showing the position and size of the filaments. The box shows a more detailed view, including the position of the Sun.

Photo: NASA / JPL-Caltech / R. Hurt, SSC & Caltech / J. West

Since the 1960s, these structures located about 350 light years from our system have been studied individually by astrophysicists. The Toronto team believe they are the first to consider them as a single entity.

Dr. West has been interested in these structures since she first saw a radio sky map some 15 years ago.

It was only recently that she and her colleagues developed a computer model that allowed them, through calculations, to build the structure that surrounds the solar system, and to show them what the radio sky would look like. from Earth, through modern telescopes.

It is extremely brilliant work, says Professor Bryan Gaensler.

When Jennifer first introduced me to this idea, I thought it was impossible. But she finally managed to convince me! Now I can’t wait to see how the rest of the astronomical community reacts., adds Prof. Gaensler, who also took part in the work, details of which are published in theAstrophysical Journal (New window) (in English).

Ms West now looks at the sky impatiently, hoping that her work will lead to further discoveries.

Magnetic fields do not exist in isolation. They must all be connected to each other, she explains.

So the next step will be to better understand how this local magnetic field connects to both the larger-scale galactic magnetic field and the smaller-scale magnetic fields of our Sun and Earth.

A quote from Researcher Jennifer West

Until then, the researcher agrees that this new tunnel model sheds new light on the scientific community and that it may seem revolutionary.

It’s still great to think that these structures are everywhere whenever we look at the night sky, she concludes.

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