Sunday, August 18, 2013

Voyager Has Left the Building....

Kall asked the question in last week's RUNDOWN segment, where exactly IS Voyager?
Well now, according to Reuters, new research indicates that the craft left the confines of the Solar System last year.  Making it the first man made object to do so.  

This new research is based on conclusions by physicist Marc Swisdak of  the University of Maryland.  Up until this point, scientists have based Voyager's position to magnetic fields.  These fields, according to computer models, will flow away from the sun as long as Voyager is in the Solar System. These fields should stop and the flow then should come from the interstellar medium and flow towards the solar system.  

However Swisdak's findings suggest that Solar System magnetic flows and interstellar's flow are aligned enough that "you can actually pass through without seeing a huge change in direction,"

If this is indeed the case then Voyager's position can only be based upon the amount of particles from Sol or cosmic rays flowing toward the Solar System from the interstellar medium.  This very scenario occurred with Voyager last year, hence the conclusion by Swisdak that Voyager has indeed left the Solar System and did so last year when Voyager detected a sharp drop in particles from Sol and   a corresponding increase in particle influx toward the Solar System. 

From the article:

  • Voyager lead scientist Edward Stone, now retired from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said Swisdak's research is interesting but different computer models are portraying different scenarios to explain the Voyager data.
Read complete Reuters article HERE

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