The Sun's journey through the local interstellar medium: the paleoLISM and paleoheliosphere
08 Aug 2006
1University of Chicago, Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, 5640 S. Ellis Ave., Chicago, IL 60637, USA
2Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
Abstract. Over the recent past, the galactic environment of the Sun has differed substantially from today. Sometime within the past ~130 000 years, and possibly as recent as ~56 000 years ago, the Sun entered the tenuous tepid partially ionized interstellar material now flowing past the Sun. Prior to that, the Sun was in the low density interior of the Local Bubble. As the Sun entered the local ISM flow, we passed briefly through an interface region of some type. The low column densities of the cloud now surrounding the solar system indicate that heliosphere boundary conditions will vary from opacity considerations alone as the Sun moves through the cloud. These variations in the interstellar material surrounding the Sun affected the paleoheliosphere.