NASA’s Voyager 2 sends first message again from the sting of the photo voltaic system

The Voyager 2 spacecraft has despatched again its first message from interstellar area, after having left our photo voltaic system late final yr. This makes it solely the second human-made object to ever attain past this level, following sibling Voyager 1, which crossed this threshold in 2012.

Launched on August 20, 1977, Voyager is the longest-running area mission in historical past, lasting in extra of 40 years and counting. It crossed over into the interstellar medium (ISM) on November 5, 2018, journeying greater than 11 billion miles from the solar. Nonetheless, it has taken till now for the primary information despatched again to be revealed. This Voyager 2 information sheds new mild on the construction of the heliosphere, the sting of our photo voltaic system. The info offers beneficial details about the bubble-like heliosphere, which is created by wind streaming out from the solar. Voyager 2 is so distant from Earth that it takes the knowledge 19 hours to journey from the spacecraft again to Earth.

“In a historic sense, the outdated concept that the photo voltaic wind will simply be progressively whittled away as you go additional into interstellar area is solely not true,” College of Iowa analysis scientist Don Gurnett mentioned in an announcement. “We present with Voyager 2 — and beforehand with Voyager 1 — that there’s a definite boundary on the market. It’s simply astonishing how fluids, together with plasmas, kind boundaries.”

voyager 2 spacecraft send back first message voyager2reacNASA JPL

The info despatched again by Voyager 2 provides to the details about the heliosphere that had already been uncovered by Voyager 1. It describes a sharper, thinner boundary to the heliosphere than the one recorded by Voyager 1. Voyager 1’s information was gathered some 13.5 billion miles from the solar, in comparison with Voyager 2’s 11 billion. Whereas the analysis doesn’t settle the query of the general construction and form of the heliosphere, it does add extra information factors that astronomers will have the ability to use to reinforce their data of the subject.

“[This new information] implies that the heliosphere is symmetric, at the least on the two factors the place the Voyager spacecraft crossed,” Invoice Kurth, a College of Iowa analysis scientist, mentioned in an announcement. “That claims that these two factors on the floor are nearly on the identical distance.” Gurnett described the construction of the heliosphere as being “like a blunt bullet.”

Measurements despatched again by Voyager 2 had been revealed in 5 separate papers within the journal Nature Astronomy.

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