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Solar System Details

Protecting The Solar System

The heliosphere is not something you can touch like a planet or a comet. It is an area around the Solar System that is filled with particles given off by the Sun. Those particles and related magnetic fields are called the solar winds. The solar winds move through the heliosphere until they reach the edge called the heliopause.

Creating The Heliosphere

The Sun has millions of fusion reactions every second. As the explosions occur, plasma is sent into space. The charged particles fly through our solar system at very fast speeds. The particles eventually slow down and meet deep space. The location where they slow down is the edge of the heliosphere (heliopause). The particle speed at the edge of the heliosphere is equal to the particle speed of energies from deep space. Once you get outside of the heliosphere you are free of the magnetic field of the Sun.

Exploring The Heliosphere

The probes Pioneer 10, Voyager I and II are all moving toward the outer reaches of the Solar System. Astronomers expect that they will eventually send back data showing the shape of the heliosphere to be like a teardrop. As the Solar System moves through the galaxy, the magnetic fields around the Sun are stretched. The final shape will look something like a teardrop with the round head in front and the tail in back.

Inside The Heliosphere

There are also actions going on inside the heliosphere. As the solar wind moves through the heliosphere, it hits planets. Those planets with strong magnetic fields are able to divert the movement and effects of the solar winds. Astronomers think the same actions occur along the outer edges of the heliosphere. The magnetic influence of the Sun is constantly interacting with gamma rays and neutral particles that move towards us in the interstellar medium (deep space).

Next Stop On Cosmos4Kids Tour
Next Page on the Solar System.
- Introduction
- Solar Wind
> Heliosphere
- Heliopause
- Asteroid Belt
- Asteroids
- Kuiper Belt
- Comets
- Oort Cloud
- Saturn's Moons


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NASA/JPL (Voyager Mission Homepage):

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