Traveling through time and space isn’t so far-fetched, after all. Such travels are pretty inconceivable in natural science, at least for now. But in practical sciences and observational studies, the Earth is constantly traveling through space-time. Now, as reported by the new and pretty revolutionary study, the entire solar system seems to be traveling through a magnetic tunnel. So, we’ve come a long way from geocentric model of the Universe.
According to ScienceAlert, the wild new study suggests that the Earth, along with the rest of our solar system, is traveling through a giant magnetic tunnel. The North Polar Spur and the Fan Region are two bright, large-scale radio structures that can be seen on the opposite sides of the sky. With specialized equipment, of course. These mysterious structures have been known for quite some time to the scientific community, though their exact role has puzzled astronomers for decades.
However, the new research suggests that these structures are actually made of, and connected with long, magnetized, parallel filaments, forming what seems like a magnetic tunnel around our solar system. The structures themselves have been known to the scientific community since the ‘60s, but they have been challenging to understand due to a lack of adequate measuring systems. Moreover, the distance between us, as observers of the phenomenon, and the phenomena themselves has varied dramatically over the years, from several hundred to thousands of light-years.
This continuous change in distance and the lack of adequate measurement made studying these large-scale radio structures difficult. However, while some measurements, estimations, calculations, and assumptions were previously made regarding the Polar Spur and the Fan Region, this is the first time anyone connected two structures together. Astronomer Jennifer West, and her colleagues of the University of Toronto in Canada, were able to show that the two regions, and the prominent radio loops in space between them, are in fact connected, forming a magnetic tunnel – a proposition which solves many puzzling problems associated with both structures.
The magnetic tunnel research paper was built upon previously collected, albeit crude, data from 1965 – the early days of radio astronomy. Those who previously collected the original data concluded that these polarized radio signals could stem from our view of the Local Arm of the Milky Way galaxy from inside the polarized radio field. And they were on the right track, though their research might’ve been hindered by the very limited technology of the ‘60s. Regardless, the original paper has inspired West and her colleagues to develop the model based on the significantly better data provided by modern telescopes.
West and her team used various modeling and simulation techniques across different parameters to figure out how the radio sky would look if magnetic filaments connected the two structures. And they stumbled upon a potential discovery, which solves many of the previously unanswered questions. The team determined that the most likely distance of the magnetic tunnel between the structures and our solar system is approximately 350-light years, which is consistent with some of the previously made theoretical and practical estimates, which placed North Polar Spur somewhere in the 500-light-year range.
Most importantly, this model seems to agree with other observational properties of the two structures, including their shape, polarization of electromagnetic radiation, and brightness. But the team isn’t done yet; they plan to perform more complex modeling with more in-depth observations. As laws of physics dictate, magnetic fields don’t exist in isolation, and further observations might help reveal hidden details as to how these structures fit in the brother galactic picture.