The Heliosphere and Interplanetary Medium

Cosmic and Heliospheric Learning Center
The Cosmic and Heliospheric Learning Center is a web-based outreach effort of the Advanced Composition Explorer project. The visitor to this site will find thorough, clearly written tutorials on cosmic rays and the heliosphere, with hyperlinks to an extensive glossary and to pages on related topics such as the Sun’s magnetic field, space weather, etc. The Learning Center also offers an introduction to “astrophysics basics” through brief discussions of the composition of the particles studied in cosmic ray and heliospheric research, energetic particles, acceleration, and magnetic fields. Other material available at the site (or “linkable to” from the Learning Center) includes news articles on cosmic ray and heliospheric science, student activities (including using real ACE data to determine the temperature and radial velocity of the solar wind), and a survey of key events in the history of cosmic ray and heliospheric studies. The site provides an “Ask a Physicist” option as well as links to related sites at other institutions.

Interstellar Medium Tutorial
This excellent tutorial was developed by the Experimental Space Plasma Group at the University of New Hampshire. The site offers both a top-level introduction to the basics of the interstellar medium and a more detailed, in-depth discussion of the subject. The tutorial is illustrated with well-chosen graphics, and key technical terms are hyperlinked to a comprehensive glossary. From the navigation bar you can link to the ESPG’s Outreach page, which provides links to “KidStuff” (interactive games and instructions on building a scale model of the Advanced Composition Explorer spacecraft) and to a set of QuickTime animations illustrating the interaction of the solar wind with the interstellar wind and the operation of a time-of-flight detector. Links are also provided to other pages with information about ESPG projects and people and to related Web sites at other institutions.

The Heliosphere
A discussion of the crossing of the termination shock of the solar wind by Voyager 1, on December 16, 2004.