The spacecraft observed four separate types of atoms, including hydrogen, oxygen, neon and helium. These interstellar atoms are the byproducts of older stars, which spread across the galaxy and fill the vast space between stars. IBEX determined the distribution of these elements outside the solar system that are flowing charged and neutral particles, which blow through the galaxy.
IBEX also measured the interstellar wind traveling at a slower speed than previously measured by the Ulysses spacecraft, and from a different direction. The improved measurements from IBEX show a 20 percent difference in how much pressure the interstellar wind exerts on our heliosphere. Measuring the pressure on our heliosphere from the material in the galaxy and from the magnetic fields out there will help determine the size and shape of our solar system as it travels through the galaxy.
WISE MISSION SEES SKIES ABLAZE WITH BLAZARSAstronomers announced in April they were actively hunting a class of supermassive black holes throughout the universe called blazars thanks to data collected by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer. The mission revealed more than 200 blazars to date with the potential for finding thousands more. Blazars are among the most energetic objects in the universe. They consist of supermassive black holes actively "feeding," or pulling matter onto them, at the cores of giant galaxies. As the matter is dragged toward the supermassive hole, some of the energy is released in the form of jets traveling at nearly the speed of light. The findings ultimately will help researchers understand the extreme physics behind super-fast jets and the evolution of supermassive black holes in the early universe. http://www.nasa.gov/wise SPACE SHUTTLES ARRIVE AT NEW HOMES With the final flight of the Space Shuttle Program in 2011, the shuttles themselves were delivered in 2012 to their new homes, where they will begin a new chapter in their careers: inspiring museum-goers of all ages to reach for the stars.