The Voyager 2 spacecraft has returned its first message from the interstellar space after having left our solar system late in 2014. This makes it just the second human-made challenge ever get to yet point, adhering to sibling Voyager 1, which crossed this threshold in 2012.
Introduced on August 20, 1977, Voyager is the longest-running area mission in the background, lasting over 40 years and counting. It crossed over into the interstellar tool (ISM) on November 5, 2018, traveling greater than 11 billion miles from the sun. Nevertheless, it has taken until currently for the initial information returned to be published. This Voyager 2 information drops brand-new light on the structure of the heliosphere, the side of our planetary system. The data supplies valuable details concerning the bubble-like heliosphere, which is produced by wind streaming out of the sun. Voyager 2 is up until now away from Earth that it takes the details 19 hours to travel from the spacecraft back to Earth.
“In a historical sense, the old idea that the solar wind will just be gradually whittled away as you go further into interstellar space is simply not true,” University of Iowa research scientist Don Gurnett said in a statement. “We show with Voyager 2 — and previously with Voyager 1 — that there’s a distinct boundary out there. It’s just astonishing how fluids, including plasmas, form boundaries.”
📡 〰️〰️〰️ 🛰️ @NASAVoyager 2 signals from interstellar space! New research reveals what the spacecraft's instruments found as it crossed the cosmic shoreline where the environment created by our Sun ends and the vast ocean of space begins. More: https://t.co/MMaUCWQRzA pic.twitter.com/eJEPW73rXA
— NASA (@NASA) November 4, 2019
The data returned by Voyager 2 includes the information concerning the heliosphere that had already been discovered by Voyager 1. It defines a sharper, thinner border to the heliosphere than the one taped by Voyager 1. Voyager 1’s data was collected some 13.5 billion miles from the sun, compared to Voyager 2’s 11 billion. While the research study does not work out the inquiry of the overall framework and also form of the heliosphere, it does add more information factors that astronomers will have the ability to make use of to enhance their understanding of the topic.
“[This new information] implies that the heliosphere is symmetric, at least at the two points where the Voyager spacecraft crossed,” Bill Kurth, a University of Iowa research scientist, said in a statement. “That says that these two points on the surface are almost at the same distance.” Gurnett described the structure of the heliosphere as being “like a blunt bullet.”
Measurements sent out back by Voyager 2 were published in five different documents in the journal Nature Astronomy.