Deflection of the Interstellar Neutral Hydrogen Flow Across the Heliospheric Interface

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Science  04 Mar 2005:
Vol. 307, Issue 5714, pp. 1447-1449
DOI: 10.1126/science.1107953

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Using an absorption cell, we measured the Doppler shifts of the interstellar hydrogen resonance glow to show the direction of the neutral hydrogen flow as it enters the inner heliosphere. The neutral hydrogen flow is found to be deflected relative to the helium flow by about 4°. The most likely explanation of this deflection is a distortion of the heliosphere under the action of an ambient interstellar magnetic field. In this case, the helium flow vector and the hydrogen flow vector constrain the direction of the magnetic field and act as an interstellar magnetic compass.

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