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20 minutes ago, Michael Kieth Adams said:

The solar system leaves a tail behind it as it orbits the galaxy.  The tail apparently splits in two.  Could this indicate an unseen companion to the sun with a very strong magnetic field?

m

Interesting, never come across that.  Can you provide a reference so I can follow it up.

Regards Andrew 

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This 2017 paper on IBEX observations ?

https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.3847/1538-4357/aa5cb2

In the conclusions they say that they have been able model the structure qualitatively including the split (without needing to invoke any unseen companion) though the paper is way to specialist for me to follow 

"Qualitatively, the characteristics of the global ENA fluxes are reproduced in our simulation, showing the "split" of the heliotail ENA structure occurring between ~1.74 and 2.73 keV consistent with the data. The heliotail ENA structure splits into the north and south ENA lobes near ~2 keV due to the inherent properties of the IHS plasma, suggesting a temperature of (slow SW) PUIs transmitted across the TS of ~107 K."

Robin

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3 hours ago, Michael Kieth Adams said:

If what they are saying is correct, then the two lobed pattern should be present around other stars.  Is it?

The solar observation were from the IBEX satellite not remote observation so we have not been able to measured this effect on any other stars.

Regards Andrew 

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I am obviously far from expert, however I don’t understand what inherent properties of plasma would divide it into two lobes.  If I got it right they are saying it has to do with temperature differences though I’m curious as to why one doesn’t see this in teardrop structures here on earth?    Of course my idea has problems also, why would a companion object to the sun, be in the perfect place to view it?   I know that things like that happen but not very often.  Would it be possible for the sun to drag something around like a dog on a leash?  I wouldn’t think so.  Perhaps it is the magnetic field of the sun, being dragged out by the galactic wind that produces two lobes?

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