Saturday, September 14, 2013

Voyager-1 officially pronounced first human-made object that reached interstellar space

Via The Watchers, 12 September 2013 - It's finally official, Voyager 1 spacecraft is now in the interstellar space. The 36-year-old probe is now about 19 billion kilometers (12 billion miles) from our Sun traveling at a speed of about 61 155 km/h (38 000 mph).

New and unexpected data indicate Voyager 1 has been traveling for about one year through plasma, or ionized gas, present in the space between stars. Voyager is in a transitional region immediately outside the solar bubble, where some effects from our Sun are still evident. A report on the analysis of this new data, an effort led by Don Gurnett and the plasma wave science team at the University of Iowa, Iowa City, is published in today's edition of the journal Science.

Whether and when NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft, humankind's most distant object, broke through to interstellar space, the space between stars, has been a thorny issue. For the last year, claims have surfaced every few months that Voyager 1 has "left our solar system." Why has the Voyager team held off from saying the craft reached interstellar space until now?

"We have been cautious because we're dealing with one of the most important milestones in the history of exploration,” said Voyager Project Scientist Ed Stone of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.  “Only now do we have the data - and the analysis - we needed."

"Now that we have new, key data, we believe this is mankind's historic leap into interstellar space," he said.
"We can now answer the question we've all been asking -- 'Are we there yet?' Yes, we are."

This artist's concept puts huge solar system distances in perspective. The scale bar is measured in astronomical units (AU), with each set distance beyond 1 AU representing 10 times the previous distance. Each AU is equal to the distance from the sun to the Earth. It took from 1977 to 2013 for Voyager 1 to reach the edge of interstellar space. 

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1 comment:

Wherami said...

I don't know what it is but something about this is screaming "Warning! - its not what this appears.".