Social Media Sidebar

Announcement

Please sign up, comment on articles and bring your friends!

Current poll

PlanetTech is asking:

What do you think about our new web site?

Love it, indeed
Really good solution
Same as old one
The old one was better
This is a new option

Quote of the day

People say we're running out of energy. That's only true if we stick with these old 19th century technologies. We are awash in energy from sunlight.

 

Ray Kurzweil

 

Pluto's Interactions with the Solar Wind Are Unique

RATE THIS! +23
Posted in Science on 5th Jun, 2016 07:03 PM by AlexMuller

Solar wind spews off from the Sun into the solar system at a supersonic 400 kilometers per second, bathing planets, asteroids, comets, and interplanetary space in a soup of mostly electrons and protons. Until recently, scientists thought Pluto’s interaction with the solar wind was more like that of a comet.

 

This interaction has a large region of gentle slowing of the solar wind, as opposed to the abrupt diversion solar wind encounters at a planet like Mars or Venus. Because it’s so weak, scientists thought Pluto’s gravity would not be strong enough to hold heavy ions close in, thus resulting in an interaction with a highly extended atmosphere.

 
Using data from an instrument aboard the New Horizons spacecraft gathered on its Pluto flyby in July 2015, McComas et al. observed the material coming off of Pluto and saw how it interacts with the solar wind. Specifically, the researchers could distinguish the heavy ions of methane, the main gas escaping from Pluto’s atmosphere, from the light ions of hydrogen that come from the Sun using the Solar Wind Around Pluto (SWAP) instrument.
 
The researchers found that solar wind particles initially approaching Pluto are reminiscent of how solar wind hits comets, with the boundary between the dwarf planet and the solar wind falling relatively close to the surface. But downwind, Pluto’s long tail, loaded with heavy ions from its atmosphere, is shaped by the interaction of the solar wind with an obstacle sustained by atmospheric thermal pressure, similar to what’s found at Venus and Mars.
 
On the basis of these observations, the authors report that Pluto is not fully comet-like and not fully planet-like, but something in between. Scientists have never seen such a hybrid anywhere else in the solar system.
 
Comparing Pluto’s interaction with the solar wind to the solar wind interaction of other planets helps scientists understand how physical conditions at different locations influence a planet’s interaction with its host star, according to the study’s authors. Understanding this may help scientists estimate characteristics of other stars’ winds with their exoplanets.

Tags: PlutospaceNew Horizonssunsolar windastronomyresearch

Read original article » Back to category

Comments



 

Recent headlines

  • Posted in Business on 2017-10-19 01:17:17
    Bots are transforming personal banking around the world..read more
    Posted in Business on 2017-10-19 01:12:16
    Hardware isn’t enough, content is key to mainstream VR.....read more
    Posted in Hardware on 2017-10-18 00:24:23
    Puerto Rico hurricane shows islands must have renewable.....read more
    Posted in Science on 2017-10-18 00:13:22
    China is betting big on AI..read more
    Posted in Online on 2017-10-18 00:02:28
    Has your browser been hijacked to mine cryptocurrency?..read more
Posted in Business on 2013-10-10 01:33
China is working towards a manned lunar mission in about.....read more
Posted in Business on 2013-10-20 07:17
Spacex says China is their main competitor for commercial.....read more
Posted in Software on 2013-10-20 06:43
Pirate Bay Browser Clocks 1,000,000 Downloads..read more
Posted in Medicine on 2013-10-10 02:10
Google reportedly investing hundreds of millions into new.....read more
Posted in Medicine on 2013-10-14 03:13
Endothelial Cells Can Repair and Regenerate Organs,.....read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Spacex says China is their main competitor for commercial.....read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Staring at Your Phone Could Be Making You Short Sighted..read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Oculus Rift virtual reality headset coming to mobile, but.....read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
China is working towards a manned lunar mission in about.....read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Delivering drugs via nanoparticles to target mitochondria..read more

Recent Blog Posts

  • Posted by AlexMuller
    Scientists probe Neptune's depths to reveal secrets of icy.....read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    New terahertz imaging approach could speed up skin cancer.....read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Rebutting the claim that antidepressants do not work..read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Artificial neural networks decode brain activity during.....read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Four Earth-sized planets detected orbiting the nearest.....read more

Login to your Account

Login to your PlanetTech Account here

Username:
Password:
Remember me
or

Create a New Account

You just need username and password

The following errors occured:
Username:
Email:
Password:
Verify password:
Remember me