Voyager 2 On The Verge Of Entering Interstellar Space Says NASA

08 October, 2018, 11:09 | Author: Tara Reeves
  • NASA says Voyager 2 may be nearing interstellar space

Once Voyager 2 exits the outermost layer of the heliosphere - the vast bubble around the Sun and the planets dominated by solar material and magnetic fields - it will become the second human-made object, after Voyager 1, to enter interstellar space, NASA said in a statement on Friday.

Voyager 1 that launched 16 days after Voyager 2 traveled through the interstellar space in 2012. The Low-Energy Charged Particle instrument aboard the probe also detected the increase in high-energy cosmic rays.

Since then, for over a decade now, Voyager scientists were watching and waiting for it to reach the outer edges of the heliosphere-the heliopause. Voyager 2 is in a different location in the heliosheath - the outer region of the heliosphere - than Voyager 1 had been, and possible differences in these locations means Voyager 2 may experience a different exit timeline than Voyager 1.

NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft launched way back in 1977 when bell bottoms and disco were in style. Soon, Voyager 2 will join it, with the probe's sensors detecting a gradual increase in cosmic rays over the last few months. NASA revealed that the instruments onboard Voyager 2 have picked up an increase of cosmic rays.

Lasting longer than ever expected, Voyager 2 continued through the solar system to Uranus and Neptune.

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Cosmic rays are superfast particles believed to be coming from sources outside of the Solar System.

NASA's Voyager 2 probe, now on a journey toward interstellar space, has detected an increase in cosmic rays that originate outside our solar system.

On one side is the heliosphere, the Solar System's bubble carved out by the solar wind. Even though Voyager 2 saw an increase in cosmic rays, the team doesn't exactly know when the probe crosses the heliopause.

Launched in 1977, Voyager 2 spacecraft is now nearly 11 billion miles from Earth or more than 118 times the distance between Earth and the Sun. "We're not there yet - that's one thing I can say with confidence". Three months before that, Voyager 1 was in the heliosphere. However, this solar wind wanes every 11 years in accordance with the solar cycle. The information they have returned to Earth has revolutionized the science of planetary astronomy, helping to resolve key questions while raising intriguing new ones about the origin and evolution of the planets in the solar system.

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