Wednesday, 13 November, 2019


Voyager 2 spacecraft crosses barrier into interstellar space

The heliopause The heliopauseNASA Goddard Space Flight Center CI Lab
Kristine Garrett | 06 November, 2019, 19:55

Interestingly enough, Voyager 2 detected a stream of particles within the heliosphere leaking out into interstellar space - and the leak was larger than what was previously observed with Voyager 1. Scientists published five new papers that focus on observations during that transition.

"Voyager 1 reached the edge of the bubble back in 2012, and we've been waiting since that time for Voyager 2 to catch up", Edward Stone, a heliophysicist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, told reporters at a press briefing.

Voyager 2 passing into the ISM has provided scientist with valuable information, as Voyager 2 entered the ISM at 119.7 astronomical units (AU), or 11 billion miles from the sun.

"It implies that the heliosphere is symmetric, at least at the two points where the Voyager spacecraft crossed", stated Bill Kurth, a University of Iowa research scientist. "That says that these two points on the surface are nearly at the same distance." .

Scientists are nonetheless attempting to know the character of interstellar house wind and the way a lot of it could actually seep by the heliopause to succeed in planets in our photo voltaic system.

Voyager 2's scientific instruments detected abrupt differences in plasma density and magnetic particles upon crossing the heliopause, the researchers said.

Scientists are interested in the heliopause because it presents an opportunity to learn more about the sun, interstellar space and the interactions between them. "Our journey has expanded deeper and deeper into space".

That Voyager 2 probably left the solar system in 2018, the American space agency Nasa already announced last December.

"We also have galactic cosmic rays, which are out in the interstellar space trying to flow in", Stone stated, referring to the fast-moving, high-energy atomic particles whizzing across the universe. Like Voyager 1, it is now moving "in a perturbed transitional region" just beyond the heliosphere.

Plasma - the fourth state of matter after solids, liquids and gases - exists within the photo voltaic system as a soup of the charged particles beaming repeatedly outward from the solar and clashing with interstellar plasma that darts inward from different cosmic occasions like stellar explosions.

What's more? The new results also showed that compared with Voyager 1, Voyager 2 experienced a much smoother transition from the heliopause to a strong new magnetic field beyond the solar system.

Exactly where you lay the boundary of the solar system is therefore somewhat arbitrary. The plasma in interstellar space is colder and more dense than the heliosphere. But testing those ideas directly is obviously a real challenge, given that doing so requires sending hardware to the edge of the Solar System. As they study other stars with exoplanets around them, what they learn now could be applied to other systems they discover. Voyager 1 confirmed there was a boundary marked by a sudden decrease in temperature and an increase in the density of charged particles known as plasma. Yet they crossed into the ISM at basically the same distances from the sun.

Scientists hope to continue learning new details about interstellar space as the Voyager probes return new measurements. NASA's Voyager-2 space vehicle has become the second vehicle to reach outside the periphery of the solar system after a long journey of over four decades.

According to astronomers, both Voyagers are on an orbit around the galaxy for five billion years or longer.

The milestone achieved by Voyager 2 follows that of its twin craft Voyager 1, which accomplished the same feat in 2012. Both probes are now more than 11 billion miles from the sun, which makes the heaters crucial for maintaining functions.

"Voyager 1 exited close to the very 'front' of the heliosphere, relative to the bubble's movement through space", NASA said.

During that transition, Voyager 1 saw a gradual enhance of substantial-electrical power cosmic rays, but these had been punctuated by two spikes wherever higher-energy cosmic rays instantly rose.

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