Interstellar Dragon Fire
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Interstellar Dragon Fire

August 21, 2007

Ancient explorers set sail expecting to encounter dragons on the world's unknown oceans. NASA's twin Voyager spacecraft are searching for dragons of a different sort as they enter the boundary of our solar system - cosmic "dragons" that breathe a strange fire of high-speed atomic fragments called cosmic rays.

Just as mythical dragons were expected to inhabit stormy seas, these cosmic dragons could be found among turbulent magnetic fields powered by the colliding winds of stars, including our sun. The winds clash at the edge of our solar system, and space physicists wonder if these dragons may be found there, or if they are even more distant in interstellar space.

This is a diagram showing the regions of the heliosphere. It also shows the approximate locations of Voyagers 1 and 2. Voyager 1 is traveling faster and has crossed into the heliosheath.

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