14 Facts About the Local Fluff – A Mysterious Interstellar Cloud the Solar System is Traveling Through

Astronomers have discovered that our planet is moving through a mixture of hydrogen and helium atoms called the 'Local Interstellar Cloud'.

Local fluff is an interstellar cloud that is part of a much bigger cavity in space called the Local Bubble. We, the residents of Earth, exist in a region called Orion’s arm. The Orion’s arm consists of various clouds that are made up of gas and dust emanating from other galaxies. The astronomers and experts have discovered that our planet is moving through a mixture of hydrogen and helium atoms called the ‘Local Interstellar Cloud’ or the ‘Local Fluff’.

Local fluff cloud
Source: NASA

Following are some interesting facts about the ‘Local Fluff’:

1) The Local Fluff cloud is made up of atoms of hot gases. The fluff can easily be crushed by the pressure of the heated material in the Bubble. However, it is surviving due to its properties.

2) We weren’t always in the Local Fluff. Our solar system’s trip through the Local Fluff Cloud started between 44,000 and 150,000 years ago. According to the experts, our solar system will completely pass through it in the next 20,000 years.

3) According to the experts, the atmosphere of the Interstellar Cloud is extremely thin, with less than an atom of gas per cubic centimetre.

4) The astronomers have known about the said cloud for decades. It was originally discovered with the help of the Hubble Space Telescope and other observatories.

5) According to the scientists, the light that goes through the cloud is picked up by various detectors on the telescopes. Moreover, the astronomers and experts use a device called a spectrograph to split the light into its element wavelengths.

6) Multiple astronomers believe that the gases in the Local Bubble and Local Fluff possibly came from supernova explosions in the past 20 million years or so.

7) Astronomers and experts believe that local fluff had a different origin. It came into being because the young stars exuded heat into space.

8) Earth and the rest of the planets are protected from the magnetic fields and radiations emanating from the Interstellar Cloud.

10) Knowledge collected with the help of ‘Voyager1’ spacecraft confirms that the cloud contains strong magnetic fields.

11) According to the experts, it’s a bit unclear if the sun is completely embedded in the Local Fluff or if it’s in a small part of the cloud.

12) The Local Bubble is the result of ‘supernovae’ that exploded within the past ten to twenty million years.

13) The Local Bubble, home to Local Fluff, is in the Gould Belt. The Belt is a ring of stars in the Milky Way (about 3000 light-years away). Moreover, the Gould Belt contains multiple bright stars that are part of various constellations, including Orion, Centaurus, and Scorpius.

14) The Gould Belt came into being about 30 million years ago when a blob of dark matter collided with the molecular cloud in our region. Experts believe that there are similar Gould belts in other galaxies.




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