The Odyssey

 
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

Launched about five years ago, the spacecraft Ulysses has provided valuable information about the sun. Last year, it swung past the sun's south pole and into the ecliptic plane (the plane of the earth's orbit). The fly past provided a unique opportunity to gather information on the heliosphere, one of the most important of which is that the shape of the heliosphere - a vast area of plasma and magnetic fields - is not spherical but more like a peanut, with ballooning edges at the north and south poles and a waist in the ecliptic plane (Science, Vol 270, November 10, 1995).

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