Thursday, May 26, 2005

Voyager 1 At The Edge Of The Solar System

Launched nearly 30 years ago, Voyager 1 has now officially reached the edge of the solar system. It has officially crossed the termination shock, where the solar wind drops abruptly drops in speed from supersonic to subsonic, and has now entered the heliosheath that divides our solar system from interstellar space.

The event was witnessed by a 2.5 times increase in the measured magnetic field indicating the drop in the speed of the solar wind and a concomitant increase in cosmic rays from interstellar space.

Voyager's Radio-isotope Thermal Generators should provide enough power for the craft to last until 2020 which NASA hopes will be enough time for the craft to pass beyond the heliopause into interstellar space.