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Back to 25 Years of Voyager Main Page Unraveling the Secrets of the Solar Wind
Introduction

We're about to embark on a tour of the cosmic cocoon in which we live-a bubble blown into the interstellar medium (a). We will learn about the extended atmosphere of the Sun on the very largest scales; we will discover why it is like a wind and sometimes like a rushing stream.

a. Image
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Cartoon schematic illustrating the interaction of the solar wind and the interstellar medium at the largest scales. The termination shock, heliopause, and bow shock, which we define and discuss, are labeled. The Voyager spacecraft position and trajectories are shown.

We will explore the nature of the bubble on the very largest scales (b);

b. Image
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Cartoon schematic illustrating the interaction of the solar wind and the interstellar medium at the largest scales. The termination shock, heliopause, and bow shock, which we define and discuss, are labeled. The Voyager and Pioneer spacecraft positions are shown on opposite sides of the Sun.

and on the very smallest scales (c);

c. Image
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From left to right: A numerical simulation of how MHD turbulence might evolve in the solar wind; a modeled coronal mass ejection driving a shock into the supersonic solar wind; theoretical particle distributions of reflected ions upstream of three different quasi-parallel shocks

then we will show the interaction between these scales and how spatially distinct regions can interact (d).

d. Image
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A flow chart illustrating the complex web of physical processes and elements that couple the interaction of the solar wind and the interstellar medium

The story of the solar wind begins deep inside the Sun (e).

e. Image
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