Voyager Has Left The Building

If by "the building" you mean the solar system, then yes, yes it has. Maybe.

Yes, the Voyager 1 probe, launched in 1977 to explore our outer solar system, and eventually leave, carrying with it a message of friendship and imagination designed by Carl Sagan, has done it's duty. Or at least, has gone where no one from this planet has gone before. Literally. It is farther out then anything man has ever made. In September, it was approx 122 AU away from the Earth. In non-space talk, that's 18 billion kilometres. And there is evidence now that is has officially left the solar system.

This chart, provided by the Voyager team's data system, shows the amount of particles generated by our sun which are hitting the spacecraft. As you can see, in late August, it pretty much bottoms out. This means it has past a point where our sun is having much of any effect on the craft at all. Indeed, as these readings have dropped, the amount of interstellar cosmic rays hitting the craft have increased. While the team, headed by Edward Stone, are hesitant to officially announce, there isn't really a defined line where we can say the solar system has ended, and the interstellar medium has begun. These reports started to trickle in around July, and until someone takes the plunge and admits that it has done so, will probably continue for the next couple years. Any time after 2020 it will pretty much be certain, and it's sister probe, Voyager 2, not far behind.

The video above is from Deep Sky, and features Dr. Meghan Gray explaining the history, and the accomplishments of the Voyager project.

Via PhysOrg.
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About MR. Clark

Adopting the descriptor of "successfully unpublished author", MR. Clark began writing things on the internet in 2012, which he believed to be an entirely reputable and civilized place to find and deliver information. He regrets much.


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