27 December 2009

Solar System Battling Hot 6000 C Cosmic Cloud

No wonder the solar system is warming! It is being wrapped in a blanket of 6000 degree Celsius interstellar gas cloud. Talk about greenhouse gas!
Astronomers call the cloud we’re running into now the Local Interstellar Cloud or “Local Fluff” for short. It’s about 30 light years wide and contains a wispy mixture of hydrogen and helium atoms at a temperature of 6000 C. The existential mystery of the Fluff has to do with its surroundings. About 10 million years ago, a cluster of supernovas exploded nearby, creating a giant bubble of million-degree gas. The Fluff is completely surrounded by this high-pressure supernova exhaust and should be crushed or dispersed by it.

“The observed temperature and density of the local cloud do not provide enough pressure to resist the ‘crushing action’ of the hot gas around it,” says Opher.

So how does the Fluff survive? The Voyagers have found an answer.

“Voyager data show that the Fluff is much more strongly magnetized than anyone had previously suspected—between 4 and 5 microgauss*,” says Opher. “This magnetic field can provide the extra pressure required to resist destruction.” _WUWT
What does this collision between the solar system and the interstellar cloud mean for Earth's climate? No one really knows, but there has been speculation:
"The tilted field probably is a result from turbulence in the interstellar medium outside our solar system or results from collisions of clouds in the solar system neighborhood," Opher says. In other words, gas clouds far from our solar system are smacking together in unexpected ways, mixing up the galactic magnetic fields that in turn funnels cosmic rays into the heliosphere. _USAToday
With more cosmic rays funneled into the solar system, perhaps Earth will see more of the Svensmark cosmic ray effect -- more clouds, cooler climate. On the other hand, wrapping your solar system with 6000 C gas clouds might eventually create a systemic warming. Remember: at the same time the Earth has been warming from the Little Ice Age (1750 to the present), Mars has warmed simultaneously. That suggests a systemic effect of some sort. Probably solar variability, but who is to say that the planets cannot be affected by forces from interstellar space?

One more thing: the Earth's north magnetic pole is shifting toward Russia at a rate of 37 miles per year. The shift may be a prelude to the "flipping of the Earth's magnetic poles." Should that happen, the transitionary period will be full of hazard for all Earth life -- exposed to high levels of extra-terrestrial radiation. Of course, it may also be a prelude to a long term collapse of the magnetic field. That would be something to really cry about.

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Blogger Bruce Hall said...

That cloud might be a problem if it were composed of CO2.


Monday, 28 December, 2009  
Blogger al fin said...

Too true. We would all be cooked.

Monday, 28 December, 2009  
Blogger Lasse said...

don't worry...the density of such clouds are veeeeery low. Lower than most Earthbound lab vacuums...

Friday, 13 January, 2012  

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