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Heliopause

Heliopause — The heliopause is the boundary where our Sun’s solar wind is stopped by the interstellar medium.

The solar wind blows a “bubble” in the interstellar medium (the rareified hydrogen and helium gas that permeates the galaxy). The point where the solar wind’s strength is no longer great enough to push back the interstellar medium is known as the heliopause, and is often considered to be the outer “border” of the solar system.

The distance to the heliopause is not precisely known. It is probably much smaller on the side of the solar system facing the orbital motion through the galaxy. It may also vary depending on the current velocity of the solar wind and the local density of the interstellar medium.

It is known to lie far outside the orbit of Pluto. The current mission of the Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft is to find and study the heliopause.

An alternative definition is that the heliopause is the magnetopause between the solar system’s magnetosphere and the galaxy’s plasma currents.

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Heliopause


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