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Giant Hot Space Cloud Approaching Earth – How Will It Affect Us?

By James Donahue

With all of the theories about a looming “end of the world,” or apocalyptic event that is prophesied to end life as we know it, consider the latest revelation by contemporary scientists who have their eyes on the sky; a giant space cloud is currently entering our solar system that could have a major impact on the Earth’s atmosphere.

Technically called a high density interstellar cloud, NASA’s Voyager spacecraft have discovered this massive interstellar cloud measuring about 30 light years wide that contains a mixture of hydrogen and helium atoms with temperatures of 6000 degrees Celsius. And our solar system has bumped right into it.

Why hasn’t this hot gas cloud overpowered the solar system and burned us all to a crisp? It is because the cloud is being held at bay just beyond the edge of the solar system by the sun’s magnetic field, which is inflated by solar wind into its own magnetic bubble that surrounds the entire system of planets. The two NASA Voyagers are broadcasting from the edge of this field, which is called a heliosphere.

While NASA is carefully monitoring events at the edge of our solar system, scientist say that there is evidence on Earth that they believe show a record of rare encounters with these dense interstellar clouds. This raises the probability that these encounters are the real cause of past earth extinctions.

Some technical reports suggests that arms or clusters of this deadly interstellar cloud have actually broken through the heliosphere and are moving through our solar system. They suggest that these clusters are affecting terrestrial climate. Is this the culprit behind climate change?

The scientific community offers a mixed cluster of opinions on what this cloud is about to do to our world.

Alex Pavlov, principal author of papers on this subject and a scientist at the University of Colorado in Boulder, wrote that “computer models show dramatic climate change can be caused by interstellar dust accumulating in Earth’s atmosphere during the solar system’s immersion into a dense space cloud.” He speculates that the dust layer hovering over Earth would absorb and scatter solar radiation and allow heat to escape into space. The result would be a global snowball effect. It would be a world-wide ice age.

“There are indications from 600 to 800 million years ago that at least two of four glaciations were snowball glaciations,” Pavlov wrote.

NASA astronomer Dr. Sten Odenwald offers a different approach. He wrote on his blog, Astronomer Café: “When the solar system enters such a cloud, the first thing that will happen will be that the magnetic field of the Sun, which now extends perhaps 100 AU from the Sun and two to three times the orbit of Pluto, will be compressed back into the inner solar system depending on the density of the medium that the Sun encounters.

“When this happens, the Earth may be laid bare to an increased cosmic ray bombardment. To make matters worse, the Earth’s magnetic field is itself decreasing as we enter the next field reversal era in a few thousand years. If the Earth’s field is ‘down’ during the same time that the solar system has wandered into the new cloud, the cosmic ray flux at the earth’s surface could be many times higher than it now is.”

What does this mean? Odenwald admits that he has no idea. He writes that “fossil records show that in previous field reversals there was hardly a sign of any biological impact caused by species extinctions or mutations. We don’t really know when the last time it was that our solar system found itself in a dense interstellar cloud, so we cannot look at the fossil record to see what effects this might have had.”

So how long will the threat of this giant space cloud hang over our heads? Scientists calculate that it arrived about 100 years ago and could take up to 500,000 years before it passes by.

The bottom line is that whatever is going to happen, we are going to have to deal with it.