This is a drawing of what the edge of the solar system might look like, as envisioned by plasma physicist Merav Opher. One of the few women in this field, Opher is also one of the top scientists, of any gender, studying what happens at the edges of space. John Rennie has written a great profile of Opher and her work. You really should read it. I like Rennie's work a lot. He's one of those amazing writers who can make abstract, theoretical physics feel as immediate, intense, and important as it actually is. To wit:
“The edge of the solar system” is more than a turn of phrase. A tenuous, invisible wind of ionized gas billows off the sun at a million miles per hour, carrying with it the sun’s magnetic field. It does not radiate out infinitely: far beyond Pluto’s orbit, this solar wind abruptly slams into the thin interstellar medium and the scattered gaseous remnants of exploded stars. That border defines what astronomers call the heliosphere.
Just a few years ago, Opher played a key role in explaining why the heliosphere is unexpectedly lopsided and off-kilter. Now an assistant professor in Boston University’s astronomy department, Opher is interpeting data that suggests that part of the heliosphere’s edge may be a churning magnetic froth, which could have broad implications for astrophysics.
Read the full profile at Txchnologist
The deadly 2013 El Reno tornado was 2.5 miles (4 km) wide and killed a team of tornado experts. But as Anton Seimon explains, his colleagues turned that tragedy into an opportunity to confirm a key element of tornado formation.
Some snakes have evolved the ability to glide through the air. For example, paradise tree snakes in southeastern Asia can launch off from a branch and fly as far as 10 meters. Scientists have known that the snakes flatten their bodies to gain lift but new research reveals that they also undulate their bodies as […]
We humans are castaways on an ocean of uncertainty. Since the beginnings of history, our ancestors sought knowledge and understanding about their lives, their relationship with the cosmos, and perhaps take a peek into their future. In such effort—long before the answers of science—earthlings developed a rich variety of divination practices and systems. Many forms […]
With all due respect to our vegetarian friends, there might be nothing more intrinsically linked to the 4th of July holiday than a big ole cookout. Sure, fireworks and celebrating the birth of a constitutional republic are great too, but showing off your cooking prowess with a brilliantly seared, mouth-watering slab of grade-A American beef […]
We’re at the midway point of 2020. So…how’s the year going for you so far? Yeah…we can guess. But while there’s a lot about 2020 we can’t directly control, maybe a little retail therapy can help make you feel better. Sure, the 39 items we gathered together can absolutely bring a smile to your face. […]
When revved-up kids used to dribble a basketball through the kitchen or practice their footwork with a soccer ball in front of the television, exasperated parents would often just send ‘em outside to play. But these days, sending kids out might not be the best course of action. Despite all the changes, many budding young […]