NASA unravels the mysterious ribbons of energy.
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A team of NASA scientists have reportedly unraveled the mystery of a striking “ribbon” of energy and particles discovered by NASA’s Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) at the edge of our solar system.
The origins of the ribbon of energy, discovered nearly three years ago, was largely a mystery to astronomers and astrophysics around the world. The edges of our solar system – the boundary at the edge of our heliosphere where material streaming out from the sun interacts with the galactic material – is essentially invisible, according to NASA. It emits no light and no conventional telescope can see it. Yet, particles from inside the solar system bounce off this boundary and neutral atoms from that collision stream inward. Those particles can be observed by instruments and since those atoms act as fingerprints for the boundary from which they came, astronomers can map that boundary in a way never before done. In 2009, IBEX discovered something in that map that no one could explain: a vast ribbon dancing across this boundary that produced many more energetic neutral atoms than the surrounding areas.