|Graphic – The journal, Science|
The results, based on data spanning four decades from 11 different spacecraft, including IBEX, were published in the journal Science September 5, 2013.
“It was very surprising to find that changes in the interstellar flow show up on such short time scales because interstellar clouds are astronomically large,” says Eberhard Möbius, UNH principal scientist for the IBEX mission and co-author on the Sciencepaper. Adds Möbius, “However, this finding may teach us about the dynamics at the edges of these clouds — while clouds in the sky may drift along slowly, the edges often are quite fuzzy and dynamic. What we see could be the expression of such behavior.”
“Prior to this study, we were struggling to understand why our current measurements from IBEX differed from those of the past,” says co-author Nathan Schwadron, lead scientist for the IBEX Science Operations Center at UNH. “We are finally able to resolve why these fundamental measurements have been changing with time: we are moving through a changing interstellar medium.”
P. C. Frisch, M. Bzowski, G. Livadiotis, D. J. McComas, E. Moebius, H.- R. Mueller, W. R. Pryor, N. A. Schwadron, J. M. Sokol, J. V. Vallerga, J. M. Ajello. Decades-Long Changes of the Interstellar Wind Through Our Solar System.Science, 2013; 341 (6150): 1080 DOI:10.1126/science.1239925