Wednesday, December 5, 2012

NASA Voyager 1 Encounters ‘magnetic highway’ in Deep Space

NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft has entered a new region at the remote reaches of our solar system that scientists refer to as a magnetic highway for charged particles because our Sun’s magnetic field outlines are linked to interstellar magnetic field lines.

Scientists feel this new region is the last area the spacecraft has to cross before reaching interstellar space. This link allows lower-energy charged particles that start from within our heliosphere, or the bubble of charged particles the Sun blows around itself, to zoom out and allows higher-energy particles from outer to stream in.

 Although Voyager 1 still is within the Sun’s atmosphere, we now can taste what it’s like on the exterior because the particles are zipping in and out on this attractive highway, said Edward Stone

 We consider this is the last support of our trip to interstellar space. Our top guess is its probable just a few months to a duo years away. The new region isn’t what we expected, but we’ve come to expect the unexpected from Voyager, he stated.

Since December 2004 when Voyager 1 crossed a tip in space called the termination shock, the spacecraft has explored the heliosphere’s outer layer, called the heliosheath.

In this area, the stream of charged particles from the Sun known as the solar wind suddenly slowed down from supersonic speeds and became turbulent. Voyager 1’s atmosphere was consistent for about five and a half years. The spacecraft then detected that the external speed of the solar wind slowed to zero.


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