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| Space on Feb 18, 2014

Interstellar magnetic fields warp as our sun and heliosphere move through galaxy

This illustration shows our heliosphere – the sphere of the sun’s influence – moving through the space of our Milky Way galaxy.

The blue “globe” in this illustration is a representation of our heliosphere – the sphere of our sun’s influence – sometimes described as a “bubble” around our sun. Outside the heliosphere is interstellar space, the space between the stars. This model shows the interstellar magnetic fields – which, if our sun weren’t in the way, would be straight – warping around the outside of our heliosphere as it travels through the space of our Milky Way galaxy. The red arrow shows the direction in which our sun and its solar system moves through the galaxy. Read more about this illustration from NASA’s Interstellar Boundary Explorer.

A model of the interstellar magnetic fields warping around the outside of our heliosphere, based on data from NASA's Interstellar Boundary Explorer. The red arrow shows the direction in which our solar system moves through the galaxy. Image via NASA/IBEX/UNH

A model of the interstellar magnetic fields warping around the outside of our heliosphere, based on data from NASA’s Interstellar Boundary Explorer. The red arrow shows the direction in which our solar system moves through the galaxy. Image via NASA/IBEX/UNH