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Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Axis of Evil in Space?

This by way of SlashDot.org.

Okay, what is the axis of evil? A Ronald Reagan notion? Yes, but that's a different one. This one is a disturbing disturbance in what's supposed to be the even (isotropic) distribution of heat in the universe. Noted by Kate Land and João Magueijo of Imperial College London, they called it the axis of evil for what it meant to the beloved standard model of the universe. This summary is from an article in New Scientist "not long ago" in 2007.

Voyager 1 and 2 to the rescue.

Just last year, researchers viewed data from the Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft when the craft passed through this area. The researchers noted that "far from being spherical as had been expected, the termination shock is asymmetric, distorted by some unknown forces." Now some think this apparent malign distribution is actually a phantom caused by a much closer sharp change in "pressure, temperature, density, magnetic and electric field properties of space," called the termination shock. The termination shock occurs where our solar system's outflowing supersonic solar winds are slowed to subsonic speeds by interstellar winds. This has a lens effect that distorts our view.

Don't you love Voyager 1 and 2? I think that since Voyager 1 became V*ger and gained self-consciousness, she is trying especially hard to please us back home. Voyager 2, a jealous lass, is trying very hard to keep up with her older sister.

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