Astronomers have found a tube of vast magnetized tendrils!

The Earth and the rest of the solar system and some nearby stars may be trapped inside a giant magnetic tunnel, and the reason is still unknown. In a new paper, astronomers mentioned that they have found a tube of vast magnetized tendrils invisible to the naked eye. It is 1000 light-years long and may encircle the solar system.

The North Polar Spur and the Fan Region were investigated by Jennifer West, an astronomer at the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Toronto. These two of the brightest radio-emitting gas structures in the galactic neighborhood revealed that they might be linked even though they are located on different sides of the sky.

If people lookup in the sky, they would see this tunnel-like structure in just about every direction they look. The curving tendrils are made up of both magnetic fields and charged particles. It resembles thin, long ropes that projects outwards from the Fan Region and the North Polar Spur. The strange cosmic ropes not only could link the two regions but could form something like a curving tunnel. This would place a small chunk of the Milky Way and the solar system inside the giant magnetic tunnel.

The North Polar Spur appears as an enormous yellow cloud stretching above the plane of the galaxy. It is a gigantic crest of gas emitting X-rays and radio waves. Details about the Fan region are not much known, but it produces a lot of polarized radio waves. West and her team, by plugging data from the radio wave observations into a new computer model, mapped out the probable length and position of the gigantic ropes. According to the model, the structures were most likely about 350 light-years from the solar system, and the ropes were roughly 1,000 light-years long.

Based on the crude data available at this time, the authors speculated that these polarized radio signals could arise from our view of the Local Arm of the galaxy from inside it. These cosmic filaments have been spotted not just in the part of the universe human lives in but found throughout the galaxy. They can radiate many different types of light.

The researchers have found in their study that optical light has been emitted by filamentary structures supernovas or near remnants of gigantic stellar explosions. The scientists’ next steps are to confirm their findings by making detailed observations of the regions they simulated and then using those observations to refine their model.

West hopes that, by deepening the model, the astronomer’s ability to understand other magnetic filaments can be improved, which are spotted around a galaxy where humans live. Another possibility could be that the invisible magnetic ropes could be a small part of a much larger galactic structure. Magnetic fields don’t exist in isolation. They all must connect. So the next step is to understand better how this local magnetic field relates both the smaller-scale magnetic fields and the larger-scale galactic magnetic field of the sun and Earth.