A recently updated model of our solar system, the shape of the bubble of influence, the heliosphere, suggests its shape is in the form of a croissant. Our solar system is protected by a stream of charged particles that comes from the sun. It has been traditionally believed that the heliosphere has a rounded leading edge where the solar system travels through space with a long trailing stream behind it (comet shaped). The actual shape of the heliosphere is more complex as a recent study published in the Journal of Nature Astronomy demonstrates. 
- Opher, M., Loeb, A., Drake, J. et al. A small and round heliosphere suggested by magnetohydrodynamic modelling of pick-up ions. Nat Astron 4, 675–683 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41550-020-1036-0
The edge of the heliosphere is 10 billion miles from the Earth. We have two spacecraft that NASA sent into space, Voyager 1 and 2 probes, that have passed the edge of the heliosphere and have directly measured its boundary. In order to ascertain whether the spacecraft has passed the heliosphere, scientists studied measurements of the galactic cosmic rays that are impinging upon our solar system. Plotting the measurement of the galactic cosmic rays show when the spacecraft passes the barrier, there is a significant increase in these energetic atoms. NASA is also using other spacecraft to feed data into the model to map the heliosphere, such as NASA’s Interstellar Boundary Explorer, and the Cassini Saturn probe. This recent study looks at the data, along with measurements from NASA’s New Horizons Pluto Probe, that is 4.3 billion miles from the Earth.
In solar science, heliospheric pickup ions are created when neutral particles inside the heliosphere are ionized by either solar ultraviolet radiation, charge exchange with solar wind protons, or electron impact ionization. The “pick-up ions” are much hotter than the particles that make up most of the solar wind, which contributes to the heliosphere’s shape. This results in a two fluid mixing where one component is very cold and the other is much hotter. Interestingly, when placing cold and hot fluids together in the vacuum of space, they do not mix, they evolve separately. The Scientists separated the cold and warmer components of the solar wind, and the new model of the heliosphere took shape (scientists were able to visualize its shape). The new shape was determined to be croissant like curvature with two jets curling away from it. The research paper states, “Because the pick-up ions dominate the thermodynamics, everything is very spherical,” Opher said. “But because they leave the system very quickly beyond the termination shock, the whole heliosphere deflates.” The region of the termination shock is at the boundary of the heliosphere where the solar wind particles begin pressing into the interstellar medium and slow to less than the speed of sound. There are a lot of things that we learn from the study of the heliosphere and its shape. For example, the heliosphere blocks approximately 75% of the galactic cosmic rays which can damage spacecraft and the DNA of traveling astronauts. Knowing which region of space in our solar system is most protected can aid in manned missions into space. The earth has an additional magnetic field and atmosphere which also aids in effectively shielding us here from cosmic rays.
The Spiritual Insights that we receive from this type of research is how the shape of the heliosphere is not exactly as we had envisioned it would be. Once having sent spacecraft with sensors into space to the edge of our solar system, we are able to see more clearly how the ions from the sun are shielding our solar system from dangerous cosmic radiation. What is interesting is we have a better idea of the shape of the heliosphere, and it does not have the shape of a comet like was previously thought. This draws out the idea of how the Lord God Almighty, the God of Israel, is shaping us, molding us, making us into what He wants us to be. The Lord God in heaven draws us to Himself, shapes us, and reveals spiritual truths to us to answer our doubts and our needs. Many times this comes by the way of trials and persecutions. This is what is called bringing us through the fire and what Peter speaks of in his epistle.
1 Peter 1:3-7
1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 1:4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 1:5 who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 1:6 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, 1:7 so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; (NASB)
Peter says the trials we go through are a test of our faith, and this is more precious than gold. Note how gold is taken from the earth, a precious metal that is sieved, and chipped away from rocks. This analogy parallels our having to go through trials, pain, and fire, for a short while until we come to the end result. Paul wrote saying the following:
2 Timothy 2:15-21
2:15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. 2:16 But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness, 2:17 and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 2:18 men who have gone astray from the truth saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and they upset the faith of some. 2:19 Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, ‘The Lord knows those who are His,’ and, ‘Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.’ 2:20 Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor. 2:21 Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work. (NASB)
48:4 ‘Because I know that you are obstinate, And your neck is an iron sinew And your forehead bronze, 48:5 Therefore I declared them to you long ago, Before they took place I proclaimed them to you, So that you would not say, ‘My idol has done them, And my graven image and my molten image have commanded them.’ 48:6 ‘You have heard; look at all this. And you, will you not declare it? I proclaim to you new things from this time, Even hidden things which you have not known. 48:7 ‘They are created now and not long ago; And before today you have not heard them, So that you will not say, ‘Behold, I knew them.’ 48:8 ‘You have not heard, you have not known. Even from long ago your ear has not been open, Because I knew that you would deal very treacherously; And you have been called a rebel from birth. 48:9 ‘For the sake of My name I delay My wrath, And for My praise I restrain it for you, In order not to cut you off. 48:10 ‘Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. 48:11 ‘For My own sake, for My own sake, I will act; For how can My name be profaned? And My glory I will not give to another. (NASB)
64:4 For from days of old they have not heard or perceived by ear, Nor has the eye seen a God besides You, Who acts in behalf of the one who waits for Him. 64:5 You meet him who rejoices in doing righteousness, Who remembers You in Your ways. Behold, You were angry, for we sinned, We continued in them a long time; And shall we be saved? 64:6 For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. 64:7 There is no one who calls on Your name, Who arouses himself to take hold of You; For You have hidden Your face from us And have delivered us into the power of our iniquities. 64:8 But now, O Lord, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand. (NASB)
In both of these sections of Scripture, Isaiah says that the Lord God is refining us like silver in the fire, and He is also shaping us like a potter does with clay. This answers the question of why bad things happen and why God allows suffering to occur. Isaiah and the disciples speak of suffering as a means for producing something good in us. It helps shape us into the people God wants us to be. We also read of the potter and clay analogy in the book of Jeremiah chapter 18 (“The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words. Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.”). What these things reveal to us is how the everyday situations (circumstances) the Lord uses to speak to us deep spiritual truths. Here in Jeremiah, the Lord God told him to seek out the house of the potter in order to receive the revealed will of God concerning the nation of Israel. God had called Israel to be His people and originally they were a vessel of honor giving praise and glory to the Lord on this earth. However, because of sin and disobedience the nation was led into captivity and scattered around the earth. Then the Lord God fulfilled His promises again, and brought the people back to the land of Israel for the purpose of bringing glory and honor to Him. This idea of sin, repentance, and redemption, which comes through the fires of trials and adversity are what the Scientific research is drawing out, in regards to the shape of the heliosphere. We do not envision our lives as following the Messiah Yeshua, as having trials, pain, and persecutions as a way for increasing our faith and bringing glory to God through remaining faithful to Him. The figure of the potter and the clay illustrates this process of how God deals with each of us at an individual level. Job even said “Thou has made me as the clay…” (Job 10:9) Isaiah reminds us that we are formed from clay which is a product of the earth, taken from the ground, and given life by the breath of God. Job cried out to the lord saying, “God maketh my heart soft” (Job 23:16), Job illustrates how we are to humble ourselves seeking God’s help to live our lives for Him. This is a process of brokenness and humility, the kind of attitude that we must have in order for the Spirit of God to influence us. This reveals to us how the secret to being conformed unto the likeness of the Messiah (Christ) is humbleness of heart and submitting our lives to the Word of God. The author of the book of Hebrew has much to say concerning this topic, specifically Hebrews 4:12 which states “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (NASB) Truly the author of Hebrews is right, the word of God is powerful to judge the thoughts and the intentions of the heart, especially in the matter of God’s commands. When arguments break out concerning the Torah, when a believer chooses to humble himself to walk according to God’s commands, I have see people argue and scream over their doctrine or theology which teaches the law is done away with. Hebrews 4:12 speaks to this situation as this is a direct reflection of the intent of both persons. One person is willing to submit to God’s word, the other is not willing to give up the ways of the flesh to walk according to the Spirit for the glory of God. This naturally causes one to become angry which is understandable. These things should cause us to do some soul searching, because Hebrews 4:12 is revealing one’s intention of the heart and one’s unwillingness to obey God’s word! In addition to this, one type of sin does not overrule another type of sin, for example, because I do not murder, or covet, or look at pornography, as these sins are great, I can freely disregard kashrut. Sin is sin regardless of what kind it is, the Bible does not distinguish as greater or lesser, and neither should we. Interpretation is a dangerous thing when using it to justify disobedience and there are many who do so via the anti-Torah theologies that exist today. The most important point is found in our response to what God’s word says, which reveals one’s intent, and can show a much deeper spiritual problem. I believe this is something we all should meditate (think) upon. We are not in this world by chance but for a specific reason, to bring glory to God. The Lord molds us and makes us in such a way as to glorify the Lord in the way that we submit our lives to His Word. The scientific research on the shape of the heliosphere draws out these points as we go through trials and suffering. And as we submit our lives to the Lord, we walk in the way of God according to His plan for our lives and learn what it means to take on His likeness and image. As we walk in the footsteps of the Messiah, nothing can separate us from the presence of God as Paul wrote, “Your life is hid with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3). Let us pray that our lives correspond to the pattern of the Master, according to God’s Word, for His Glory! Amen!