NASA's Voyager 2 becomes second spacecraft to reach interstellar space

Rodiano Bonacci
Novembre 6, 2019

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NASA said the Voyagers still remain in the solar system, even though they've left the sun's bubble. Voyager 2 has now become the second man-made object to cross the realm of the sun.

Measurements taken by "Voyager-2", gave scientists new ideas about the boundaries of the heliosphere, because the tools "Voyager-1" required for direct measurements, out of service in 1980.

Voyager 2, after its launch more than 40 years ago, has now entered into the interstellar space, NASA has confirmed. This means that the spacecraft has gone beyond the solar system.

Now, Voyager 2 has sent some of the most detailed pictures of the border of our solar system. Voyager 2 observed some of the particles that are typically confined to the heliosphere escaping, trickling out into interstellar space. It made its last planetary observation of Uranus in 1989, nearly a decade after Voyager 1 had started its long march toward the edge of the solar system.

When Voyager 1 reached the edge of our solar system, known as the heliopause, it no longer had a functional plasma spectrometer. As a result, there was some debate about when, exactly, the probe left our solar system. In this way, we missed the normal change from warm sun oriented plasma to the denser cold plasma of the ISM. In the end, estimations of neighborhood electrons and attractive field movements affirmed it was in interstellar space. The NASA scientists were apprehensive at the outset of the journey whether it would survive to see this landmark of crossing the border of the solar system. Earlier, only Voyager-1 of NASA reached this limit.

The electromagnetic junction just outside the heliosphere was thought to be a deeper transitional place of intermingling cosmic weather, but Voyager 2's plasma wave instrument - built by University of Iowa researchers - detected sharp jumps in plasma density, much like two different fluids coming into contact with one another.

The approximate positions of Voyager 1 and 2.

According to researchers, the entry of Voyager 2 into the ISM occurred at 119.7 astronomical units (AU), or more than 11 billion miles from the Sun. However, their exit points were about 150 AU apart.

The region has been described as a "cosmic ray boundary layer" as, according to scientists, it signifies where the probe witnessed a shift in the gradient of interstellar cosmic rays and lower-energy solar particles. The two spacecraft, however, crossed into the ISM at around the same distances from the Sun. Their original goal was to study Jupiter and Saturn specifically, sending back findings like active volcanos on Jupiter's moons and giving us our first detailed look at Saturn's rings.

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