Voyager 1 has reached a new region on the boundary of the solar system


07/12/2011

NASA probe has entered a new region at the boundary of our solar system and interstellar space. The solar wind has calmed down, the magnetic field of the solar system has increased significantly, and high-energy particles seep into interstellar space.

"According to the testimony of the Voyager, he reached the stagnation zone, which is located in the outermost layer of the bubble around our solar system," - said Ed Stone, Voyager project is working on at the California Institute of Technology (Pasadena). "Voyager has shown that what is on the outside, has an increasing influence. Not long to wait until we find out what really is interstellar space."

Although Voyager 1 is at a distance of about 18 billion kilometers from the Sun, it has not yet reached interstellar space. As the latest data, the direction of the magnetic field lines has not changed. This means that it is still within the heliosphere (area of the solar wind), which is a bubble of charged particles that are emitted by the sun. It is unknown when Voyager 1 will cross the border of the solar atmosphere and fall into interstellar space. Scientists hope that this will happen in the period of several months to several years.

Researchers have reported that the outward flow of the solar wind dried up in April 2010, which was the sign of the beginning of the new region. Mission Control repeatedly turned probe this spring and summer to help determine whether the solar wind is blowing in the opposite direction. Apparently not. Voyager 1 crisscrossing the heavenly sea in the region, similar to Earth’s doldrums, where there is a very small amount of wind.

This year, set on Voyager magnetometer recorded a doubling of the intensity of the magnetic field in a calm area. It seems that the external pressure of interstellar space, increases the strength of the magnetic field, as it were, compacting it.

Up until the middle of 2010, the number of high-energy particles emitted by the solar system was stable. But currently, they are rarely double, compared with the previous five years. It seems that they seep into interstellar space.

At the same time, the number of high-energy electrons coming from outside our Galaxy increased 100-fold, which is another indication of approaching the boundary.

We found that the wind speed is low and it is blowing in gusts. For the first time we got to the area where the wind is blowing into our solar system, and not out of it. Obviously, we are in a completely new territory. Scientists had previously assumed a quiet area, but only now have we been able to verify this. "

Launched in 1977, Voyager 1 and 2 are still in good condition and has had to withdraw to a distance of 18 and 15 billion kilometers from the Sun, respectively.

Original: Physorg


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