The properties of interstellar clouds near the Sun are ordered by the Loop I superbubble and by the interstellar radiation field. Comparisons of the kinematics and magnetic field of the interstellar gas flowing past the Sun, including the Local Interstellar Cloud (LIC), indicate a geometric relation between Loop I as defined by radio synchrotron emission, and the interstellar magnetic field that polarizes nearby starlight. Depletion of Fe and Mg onto dust grains in the LIC shows a surprising relation to the far ultraviolet interstellar radiation field that is best explained by a scenario for the LIC to be extended, possibly filamentary, porous material drifting through space with the Loop I superbubble. The interstellar velocity and magnetic field measured by the Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) help anchor our understanding of the physical properties of the nearby interstellar medium.
Date added: Fri, 11 Oct 13