ApproximNASA’sone year ago, the Voyager 2 spacecraft began its journey outside our solar system. Now that some time passed, we should take a look at what NASA’s ship managed to discover there.
According to the space agency, the activity performed by Voyager 2 led to new findings about the border that separates our solar system from the interstellar space. Scientists’ description for “interstellar space” define it as the place where the flow of material and magnetic field of the sun no longer has an effect. This space is estimated to be 18 billion kilometers from our home planet.
Scientists say that the Voyager 2 detected unexpected differences in the density of plasma. Even more, new reports confirm that Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 are both located in a transitional area right beyond the heliosphere right now. The heliosphere is a protective layer formed due to solar wind created by charged particles, and it surrounds our solar system. As data collected by Voyager 2 suggests, the heliopause is much thinner than researchers anticipated.
Edward Stone, a physicist from the California Institute of Technology, recently gave reporters a statement saying that the discoveries are fascinating, as they offer information about the interactions between the sun and the materials that fill interstellar space in the Milky Way.
Furthermore, Voyager 2’s findings also confirm the existence of a “magnetic barrier” located at the edge of the heliosphere. This barrier has been predicted by theories and observed by Voyager 1.
Stone said: “Without this new data from Voyager 2, we wouldn’t know if what we were seeing with Voyager 1 was characteristic of the entire heliosphere, or specific just to the location and time when it crossed.”
Dismissing any expectations and predictions, at the moment when Voyager 2 crossed the heliopause, the magnetic field direction did not change.
The spacecraft also gathered data regarding incoming cosmic rays, proving that they are growing stronger as the Voyager got closer to the heliopause.
Both of the Voyager spacecrafts were designed to last only five years, but they obviously outlasted their predicted lifetimes. After 42 years of performance, they are expected to run out of power soon.