Science in school taught that there was a perfect vacuum in outer space, the region between our solar system and the other stars. However, the science of the ancients talks of sṛṣṭi where this intervening space has vāyu and that vāyu causes all movement. Even the tārā-graha, the five planets of the jyotiṣa paradigm and the Moon all move due to the vāyu caused by the ‘breath of the Sun’. Nārāyaṇa is in the anāhata chakra which is the seat of vāyu and links each individual to the space outside the solar system. This is the starting point of real spirituality where the soul plans to escape from the grasp of the solar system and the creator-god Brahmā who is continuously putting us into different bodies that are compatible with the environment.
This did cause some confusion in the 70s but thanks to recent studies, this seems to have ironed out any differences with a nice definition of the heliosphere which is a bubble in which the entire solar system rests. This heliosphere has a diameter double the distance of Pluto from the Sun – basically the Pluto orbit is the defining boundary. Space scientists imagine this like a foetus in a womb (see adjoining image). The space between the stars is not perfectly empty. Instead, it is actually occupied by a thin broth of dust and gas from other stars—living stars, dead stars, and stars not yet born. A one-cm-cube volume of space holds just a single atom, and the area around our solar system is even less dense, but it is not empty and that is important fact. There is the vāyu the ancients spoke of.
This bubble is created by powerful solar winds that create a powerful force-field around the planets and protect them from the interstellar radiations. It is as if there is this shield of the Sun-God protecting the planets, at least 70% strong. The remaining 30% comes from the planet and its local system. This is a constant push from the Sun which weakens with distance – Mercury being the most protected, like a prince in a kingdom, and Saturn having the highest external interstellar radiation among the visible planets. Pluto being the farthest, is least protected by this Sūrya kavacha (shield). In this continuous battle for survival of the solar system the Sun actually puts up a good fight till one day its fiery energy can no longer ward off the invading radiations. Till such time, we survive and this maybe synchronous to the life of Brahmā.
Recent proposals of the shape of the heliosphere are that of a crescent instead of a croissant! The vedic proposal is that of a half-egg-shape called brahmāṇḍa. This egg cracked and half was blown into outer space while the Sun was able to hold on to the lower half which manifests the solar system (visible loka).