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.
NASA Makes Unprecedented Return To Mars, Advances Commercial Spaceflight And Adds To Its Amazing Research And Discoveries In 2012
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