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Local fluff.

Diagram of the Local Fluff. In this plot the vertical axis is labeled “Distance (light years)”, and runs from -20 to 20 in increments of 10. The horizontal axis is labeled “Distance (light years)”, and also runs from -20 to 20 in increments of 10. The Sun is plotted in the center of the plot (0, 0) as a yellow circle. A grey arrow is drawn from the Sun pointing toward the upper right and is labeled “Direction of sun’s motion”. Two stars are plotted; “Alpha centauri” as a yellow dot at about (4, -4), and “Sirius” as a blue dot near (-8, -8). Along the bottom a blue arrow points to the right and is labeled “Galactic Center”. Some cloud names are given; the “Local Cloud” near the Sun, “Blue” near bottom center, and the “G cloud” to the right of the Sun. Five unlabeled arrows are drawn above the Sun pointing to the upper left indicating motions of the local cloud. A further unlabeled arrow is drawn starting near (-2, -2) pointing up. An arrow is drawn starting near (1, 20) pointing left and labeled “Mic”. An arrow is drawn starting near (-10, 10) pointing upward and labeled “Hyades”. An arrow is drawn starting near (-12, 4) pointing left and labeled “Aur”. Finally, an arrow is drawn starting near (-11, -3) pointing left and labeled “Gem”. To the right and slightly above the Sun are the constellations “Aql”, “Eri” and “Oph”.
The Sun and planets are currently moving through the Local Interstellar Cloud, which is also called the Local Fluff. Fluff is an appropriate description because the density of this cloud is only about 0.3 atom per cm 3 . In comparison, Earth’s atmosphere at the edge of space has around 1.2 × 10 13 molecules per cm 3 . This image shows the patches of interstellar matter (mostly hydrogen gas) within about 20 light-years of the Sun. The temperature of the Local Interstellar Cloud is about 7000 K. The arrows point toward the directions that different parts of the cloud are moving. The names associated with each arrow indicate the constellations located on the sky toward which the parts of the cloud are headed. The solar system is thought to have entered the Local Interstellar Cloud, which is a small cloud located within a much larger superbubble that is expanding outward from the Scorpius-Centaurus region of the sky, at some point between 44,000 and 150,000 years ago and is expected to remain within it for another 10,000 to 20,000 years. (credit: modification of work by NASA/Goddard/Adler/University Chicago/Wesleyan)

Key concepts and summary

The Sun is located at the edge of a low-density cloud called the Local Fluff. The Sun and this cloud are located within the Local Bubble, a region extending to at least 300 light-years from the Sun, within which the density of interstellar material is extremely low. Astronomers think this bubble was blown by some nearby stars that experienced a strong wind and some supernova explosions.

For further exploration

Articles

Goodman, A. “Recycling the Universe.” Sky&Telescope November (2000): 44. Review of how stellar evolution, the interstellar medium, and supernovae all work together to recycle cosmic material.

Greenberg, J. “The Secrets of Stardust.” Scientific American December (2000): 70. The makeup and evolutionary role of solid particles between the stars.

Knapp, G. “The Stuff between the Stars.” Sky&Telescope May (1995): 20. An introduction to the interstellar medium.

Nadis, S. “Searching for the Molecules of Life in Space.” Sky&Telescope January (2002): 32. Recent observations of water in the interstellar medium by satellite telescopes.

Olinto, A. “Solving the Mystery of Cosmic Rays.” Astronomy April (2014): 30. What accelerates them to such high energies.

Reynolds, R. “The Gas between the Stars.” Scientific American January (2002): 34. On the interstellar medium.

Websites and apps

Barnard, E. E., Biographical Memoir: http://www.nasonline.org/publications/biographical-memoirs/memoir-pdfs/barnard-edward.pdf.

Cosmicopia: http://helios.gsfc.nasa.gov/cosmic.html. NASA’s learning site explains about the history and modern understanding of cosmic rays.

DECO: https://wipac.wisc.edu/deco. A smart-phone app for turning your phone into a cosmic-ray detector.

Hubble Space Telescope Images of Nebulae: http://hubblesite.org/gallery/album/nebula/. Click on any of the beautiful images in this collection, and you are taken to a page with more information; while looking at these images, you may also want to browse through the slide sequence on the meaning of colors in the Hubble pictures (http://hubblesite.org/gallery/behind_the_pictures/meaning_of_color/).

Questions & Answers

why the dark side of moon never face us? because moon dont rotate? why tho
Rishabh Reply
im in 8th standard and my school teach us nothing about astronomy but i want to be an astronomer so i study from youtube and apps like this but sometimes i get language problems
Rishabh
dark**
Glory
side**
Glory
The Moon does actually rotate. It takes 27 days for the Moon to make a full rotation. Because it takes it so long and the Earth is rotating around the sun, it seems like the Moon is pretty much standing still. That's called "synchronous rotation".
steveh259
I ment to say "The Earth is orbiting around the sun"
steveh259
Tidal Locked.....
Adam
***svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/4442
Collins
thats cool
Gospel
ya gives you a look at how the moon orbits around us too and a perspective of how fast we are going. also gives the moon phases for the year! enjoy 😁
Collins
yes you are absolutely correct, it just like something like the milk of heaven
Subhasish
the far side of the moon is not the dark side of the moon.
Shawn
what phases of the moon occurs when spring tide?
Florence Reply
the moon has a 28 day cycle. you can download a moon calander or follow the pattern and make your own calendar. 1st full moon of the year 21/22nd Jan, its also a blood moon and a wolf moon. if this info helps at all. 😊
Collins
***svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/4442
Collins
How to determine the velocity of light?
PARTHIB Reply
using this formula c=1/√absolute permeability×absolute permittivity of free space i.e. c=1/√8.854×10^-12×4π×10^-7~3×10^8ms^-1
Vidyashankar
what is mean by Big Bang
block Reply
What it means by Big Bang is how the world was made and came in to exist
Glory
The Big Bang Is The Best Explanation For What We See Around Us, And For The Origin Of The Universe, All Our Evidence Points To The Big Bang Theory..... And Was Proposed By A Belgian Priest.....
Adam
if the big bang theory is really true than i would like to know what exploded and where did it came from and where did the energy came from and where come from for the matter to expand into amd where did the organization come from and where did the information come from.........
Gospel
Some say that on the otherside of the singularity was a black hole. They say that at the other end of all black holes is another universe. Hence the multiverse. It's all theoretical at this point but less than a 100 years ago people believed that there was only 1 galaxy in the universe. So why
Rafael
should there be only 1 universe?
Rafael
universe.
Rafael
is astronomy a hard subject to learn because i want to be an astronomer
FNAF Reply
No it not it just takes time and effort to learn
Glory
if your already interested/observing, your already an astronomer ! The more you look and read the more you'll learn.
Collins
I want to become a scientist but my knowledge is very low. How I can improve my knowledge?
Wwe
any form of science courses, there's free crash course channel on you tube. I've learned alot from this channel. covers most topics, science: biology chemistry physics, astronomy, ranges to anatomy, history and many many more. it's a never ending subject!
Collins
suggest a channel as a example
Wwe
CrashCourse is the name of the channel and there is a picture of an apple. look through their play lists. They will have other related channels they follow also.
Collins
thank you so much
Wwe
your very welcome
Collins
Why are they so far away that their light takes hundreds of millions of years to reach us on earth?
LadyCatTM Reply
what is comets , astroids ,
Sumit Reply
comets are broken pieces of dust frozen debris Asteroids are big soiled pieces of Ice that burst into flames when it in to earth's atmosphere
Glory
hi, I am yamini, I am in class 8 but very much interested in astronomy and go to NASA, what are the subjects in which I can master and lead to NASA.
yamini Reply
Hello Yamini, Im Ken and I'm avery intrested in joining the NASA too. Is nice to meet you.
Ken
very*
Ken
nice to meet u ken
yamini
What I know about the subjects is that you have to be a master on science and math, also if you know about aviation is better too
Ken
I read that the Russian language is very important, is not a requirement but it's like an extra point!
Ken
yeah like physics, chemistry and maths, they are my most favorite.
yamini
than you can go free of cost
Arush
Yes, That's right!
Ken
how
yamini
Oh! Free of cost?
Ken
hello yamini nice to meet you
Burak
wow from NASA ur so lucky
FNAF
hello yamini nice to meet you
block
what is time
Abdul Reply
Time is relative
mrunal
pls elaborate
sakshi
the clear defination.I know that.
Abdul
In planet mars there the life exits or not and is there water there
Eshwarsa Reply
see till now nothing can be found as u know that the curiosity rover has struck in mars
Maya
It has been proven that there are water molecules on Mars but not enough that most lifeforms could thrive upon.
Ariana
There are huge amounts of water in the ice caps and under the surface. The surface and chemistry indicate that Mars had cosiderable amounts of water on its surface in the past.
Julius
what is your opinion about the theory of Vedas about modern physics..
Manish Reply
i think in some ways vedas are also correct but not everytime
Maya
I agree
sakshi
hmm even I agree
Samuel
Is there any patened theory about time relativitg in growth and development?
donot Reply
some astronomer's says that there is no alien exist but why search for extra terrestrial intelligence center is established
Eshwarsa Reply
No One Knows That For Absolute Fact, The Universe Is Too Huge To Have Any Type Of Idea About What Exist In The Far Reaches Of Our Universe.....
Adam
Check Out The Drake Equation.....
Adam
their should be aliens as like ours there would be another planet
Maya
which could have existed life on it
Maya
adam i want to ask a question
Maya
can kepler 1st law be applied on all the planets of the universe
Maya
hello, anyone home?
Denise
guys listen we cannot ever find aliens because our technology is not that great.we don't know whether they exist or no because our universe is very large . Just for an example;even if we spot out aliens we cannot reach there because lot of time must have been passed and before us reaching there
Samuel
what if their species or existence might get vanished our have been extinct!! getting my point
Samuel
sjskskfhjkkktewqqw and try?
Lanika Reply
what is this ?
Samuel
hi I am Samuel from India mumbai
Samuel
nice to meet you
Samuel
thats my question, what is this?
penzias and wilson's a discovery of the cosmic microwave background is a nice example of scientific serendipity-something that is found by chance but turns out to have a positive outcome
Jacqueline Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, Astronomy. OpenStax CNX. Apr 12, 2017 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11992/1.13
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