Local Interstellar Cloud

The Local Interstellar Cloud, casually called the Local Fluff, is the interstellar cloud (roughly 30 light years across) through which our solar system is currently moving. The Solar System entered the Local Interstellar Cloud at some time between 44,000 and 150,000 years ago and is expected to remain within it for another 10 to 20,000 years. The cloud has a temperature of 6000° C, about the same temperature as the surface of the Sun. It is very thin, with 0.26 atoms per cubic centimeter; approximately one-fifth the density of the galactic interstellar medium and twice that of the gas in the Local Bubble. In comparison, Earth's atmosphere at STP has 2.7 × 1019 molecules per cubic centimeter.

The cloud is flowing outwards from the Scorpius-Centaurus Association, a stellar association that is a star-forming region. [ [http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap020210.html Science Nasa: Astronomy Picture of the Day] ]

The cloud formed where the Local Bubble and the Loop I Bubble met. The Sun, with a few other local stars, is embedded in the Local Fluff. Notable nearby stars include those of Alpha Centauri, Vega, Arcturus, and Fomalhaut.

The Local Interstellar Cloud's effects on Earth are effectively cancelled by the solar wind and the Sun's magnetic field. [ [http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2003/06jan_bubble.htm Science Nasa: "Near-Earth Supernovas"] ]

ee also

* Gould Belt
* Orion Arm
* Perseus Arm



* [http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2003/06jan_bubble.htm Science Nasa: "Near-Earth Supernovas"]
* [http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2004/17dec_heliumstream.htm Science Nasa: "A Breeze from the stars"] Interstellar helium-enriched wind from Ophiucus.
* [http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap020210.html Science Nasa: Astronomy Picture of the Day]
* [http://www.solstation.com/x-objects/chimney.htm "Local Chimney and Superbubbles"]
*Mark Anderson, "Don't stop till you get to the Fluff", "New Scientist" no. 2585, 6 January 2007, pp. 26-30

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