Sunday, January 17, 2010

Life immitates Trek (sort of) Giant Ribbon Discovered at the Edge of the Solar System

For years, researchers have known that the solar system is surrounded by a vast bubble of magnetism. Called the "heliosphere," it springs from the sun and extends far beyond the orbit of Pluto, providing a first line of defense against cosmic rays and interstellar clouds that try to enter our local space. Although the heliosphere is huge and literally fills the sky, it emits no light and no one has actually seen it.

Until now.

NASA's IBEX (Interstellar Boundary Explorer) spacecraft has made the first all-sky maps of the heliosphere and the results have taken researchers by surprise. The maps are bisected by a bright, winding ribbon of unknown origin:

Yeah. Yeah. I know, it's not a GALACTIC Barrier. But, humor me..

The U.S.S. Enterprise has been sent to investigate.