Science fiction uses scientific language as a form of artistic expression. With that in mind, today’s post is part of a series here on Planet Pailly called Sciency Words. Every Friday, I’ll bring you a new and interesting scientific word to help us all expand our scientific vocabularies together. Today’s word is:
Yes, this is a real science term. No, it has nothing to do with porn.
As you’re probably aware, you live on the planet Earth. Earth is located in the Solar System, and the Solar System is located inside a region of space known as the Local Fluff. Scientists currently estimate this region is roughly 30 light-years across. What’s fluffy about it? Well, it’s a cloud of hydrogen gas slightly denser than the interstellar medium surrounding it.
In a high tech, Science Fiction future, the Local Fluff might become very important. Just as rivers and mountain ranges helped determine the political boundaries of nations here on Earth, gas clouds like the Local Fluff might one day be used to draw the borders between intergalactic space empires.
Our Solar System is located close to the outer edge of the Local Fluff. Alpha Centauri, our nearest neighbor, is just over the border, inside another hydrogen cloud called the G-Cloud (which also has nothing to do with porn). To find out more about the Local Fluff, click here.