Monday, June 18, 2012

Voyager 1 Close to Interstellar Space?

Hey Space Placers!

One of our two deep space emmisaries, Voyager 1, is returning data from over 11 billion miles (16 hours and 38 light minutes distant) from Earth that indicates that the influence of charged particles from other than our solar system is increasing.

This artist's concept shows NASA's two Voyager spacecraft exploring a turbulent region of space known as the heliosheath, the outer shell of the bubble of charged particles around our sun.

Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 were launched in 1977 to study the outer solar system (except Pluto) and then become deep space probes that will travel literally forever in space. Both spacecraft are in good health and they contine to return valuable data. The Voyagers represent the farthest artifacts of humanity in space.

One day these intrepid explorers will reach the outer boundary of the solar system and enter true interstellar space. The rising count of non-solar system charged particles is a major indicator that this hsitoric milestone is approaching.

Scientists believe that when the magnetic field lines that are measured by the Voyagers switch from their east-west orientation caused by the Sun to some other orientation that this will mark the entry into interstellar space. Such analysis takes weeks and is currently underway. Maybe we will get the historic announcement soon.

I'll be sure to let you know!

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Sky Guy in VA

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