ESA Science & Technology30-Jun-2005 16:42:41

Science Highlights from the Second Solar Orbit

Interstellar Dust

The Ulysses dust detector counted an increasing number of interstellar grains starting at the beginning of 2000. This increase followed a depletion of interstellar grains observed by Ulysses after mid-1996. This was attributed to the deflection of the interstellar dust stream by the highly ordered, solar-minimum heliospheric magnetic field. The return of interstellar dust to the solar system is thought to be the result of large-scale disturbances of the magnetic field that occur during solar maximum. The number of interstellar dust grains in the solar system is predicted to steadily increase until the next solar maximum.

For further information please contact: