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Old Mar 20, 2013, 11:57 AM   #1
obeygiant
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V'ger Exits The Solar System

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Thirty-five years after its launch, Voyager 1 appears to have travelled beyond the influence of the Sun and exited the heliosphere, according to a new study appearing online today.

The heliosphere is a region of space dominated by the Sun and its wind of energetic particles, and which is thought to be enclosed, bubble-like, in the surrounding interstellar medium of gas and dust that pervades the Milky Way galaxy.

On August 25, 2012, NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft measured drastic changes in radiation levels, more than 11 billion miles from the Sun. Anomalous cosmic rays, which are cosmic rays trapped in the outer heliosphere, all but vanished, dropping to less than 1 percent of previous amounts. At the same time, galactic cosmic rays – cosmic radiation from outside of the solar system – spiked to levels not seen since Voyager’s launch, with intensities as much as twice previous levels.

The findings have been accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.

“Within just a few days, the heliospheric intensity of trapped radiation decreased, and the cosmic ray intensity went up as you would expect if it exited the heliosphere,” said Bill Webber, professor emeritus of astronomy at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. He calls this transition boundary the “heliocliff.”

In the GRL article, the authors state: “It appears that [Voyager 1] has exited the main solar modulation region, revealing [hydrogen] and [helium] spectra characteristic of those to be expected in the local interstellar medium.”

However, Webber notes, scientists are continuing to debate whether Voyager 1 has reached interstellar space or entered a separate, undefined region beyond the solar system.

“It’s outside the normal heliosphere, I would say that,” Webber said. “We’re in a new region. And everything we’re measuring is different and exciting.”

The work was funded by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.



Read more: http://science.time.com/2013/03/20/h...#ixzz2O6GTFdb6
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Old Mar 20, 2013, 12:22 PM   #2
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I'm not sure why this is news now since all of that information was announced when it happened 7 months ago. There isn't a fine line between the solar system and interstellar space and Voyager has been "leaving" through the heliopause for years. They found some interesting stuff out there.

I think the coolest thing about it is that in 2011, after a full 21 years of dormant cruising, Voyager 1 was still able to power its engines and turn on command.

Last edited by filmbuff; Mar 20, 2013 at 12:29 PM.
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Old Mar 20, 2013, 12:25 PM   #3
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Awesome stuff. Poor Voyager is probably so lonely.
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Old Mar 20, 2013, 12:26 PM   #4
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I find it amazing that we can still communicate with a device that was launched over 30 years ago and is now 11+ billion miles from earth.
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Old Mar 20, 2013, 12:40 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by ucfgrad93 View Post
I find it amazing that we can still communicate with a device that was launched over 30 years ago and is now 11+ billion miles from earth.
I agree and also considering the technology on the spacecraft being over 30 years old too and still working.

I read about this in August when it made the news and it still fascinates me about the whole [star] trek. The furthest man-made object from Earth.
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Old Mar 20, 2013, 12:51 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by filmbuff View Post
I'm not sure why this is news now since all of that information was announced when it happened 7 months ago. There isn't a fine line between the solar system and interstellar space and Voyager has been "leaving" through the heliopause for years. They found some interesting stuff out there.
I was thinking that too although the article was published today. The American Geophysical Union officially declared it based on a change in the cosmic rays.
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Old Mar 20, 2013, 05:49 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by filmbuff View Post
.......
I think the coolest thing about it is that in 2011, after a full 21 years of dormant cruising, Voyager 1 was still able to power its engines and turn on command.
Thanks for posting this, OP.

Agreed, it is awesome. Actually, I remember when Voyager (both Voyagers) blasted off, and remember the TV coverage at the time, and later, too, during the planetary flypasts, (and also recall the coverage of the Jupiter fly past by the late Carl Sagan in his wonderful series 'Cosmos' which had me absolutely rivetted when it was first broadcast in the early 1980s).......

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Awesome stuff. Poor Voyager is probably so lonely.
Yes, but isn't it amazing that it is still capable of communicating what is happening to it and what it experiences through its wonderfully sturdy instruments?

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I find it amazing that we can still communicate with a device that was launched over 30 years ago and is now 11+ billion miles from earth.
So do I. Fantastic.

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Originally Posted by SandboxGeneral View Post
I agree and also considering the technology on the spacecraft being over 30 years old too and still working.

I read about this in August when it made the news and it still fascinates me about the whole [star] trek. The furthest man-made object from Earth.
Awesome (that wonderful American words fits best, here) and spine-tingling. Stories like this still thrill me.

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I was thinking that too although the article was published today. The American Geophysical Union officially declared it based on a change in the cosmic rays.
Again, thanks for posting and sharing. I don't care that this was first flagged seven months ago - it is a great story and a deeply thought-provoking tale. It puts many things into perspective, somehow.
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Old Mar 20, 2013, 05:52 PM   #8
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I agree and also considering the technology on the spacecraft being over 30 years old too and still working.

I read about this in August when it made the news and it still fascinates me about the whole [star] trek. The furthest man-made object from Earth.
30 years old and still working! And we are talking about it on a forum where people go to make sure the phone they want to buy isn't going to be upgraded in five months. Cause then the old one will be junk!
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Old Mar 20, 2013, 06:12 PM   #9
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30 years old and still working! And we are talking about it on a forum where people go to make sure the phone they want to buy isn't going to be upgraded in five months. Cause then the old one will be junk!
Nice distinction, and nicely made - and fair - point, too.
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Old Mar 20, 2013, 06:13 PM   #10
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I wonder how far will it reach until it stops transmitting.
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Old Mar 20, 2013, 06:17 PM   #11
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I wonder how far will it reach until it stops transmitting.
As do I. And also think to ask how long it will take to get there........
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Old Mar 20, 2013, 06:31 PM   #12
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30 years old and still working! And we are talking about it on a forum where people go to make sure the phone they want to buy isn't going to be upgraded in five months. Cause then the old one will be junk!
Well put!

Most younger people probably have no concept of the work put into these space probes back then and the forethought the scientists and engineers had to have in order to make the craft "future proof" since they obviously realized that there was no upgrade path for them.
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Old Mar 20, 2013, 06:44 PM   #13
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The BBC isn't so sure: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-21866532
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Old Mar 21, 2013, 10:21 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by ucfgrad93 View Post
I find it amazing that we can still communicate with a device that was launched over 30 years ago and is now 11+ billion miles from earth.
I wonder if NASA needs to maintain a suite of older communications equipment for compatibility? Or have they migrated all the communications to their current equipment...

Just idle curiosity. I too remember when they were launched, and the possibilities that were discussed. wow.
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Old Mar 21, 2013, 11:58 AM   #15
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I wonder if NASA needs to maintain a suite of older communications equipment for compatibility? Or have they migrated all the communications to their current equipment...

Just idle curiosity. I too remember when they were launched, and the possibilities that were discussed. wow.
It would be interesting to know what equipment they are now using. It would also be awesome of we (non-nasa people) could pickup V'gers signals on "homemade" equipment Just like the amateur radio operators could pickup the signal from Sputnik.
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Old Mar 21, 2013, 12:03 PM   #16
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It would be interesting to know what equipment they are now using. It would also be awesome of we (non-nasa people) could pickup V'gers signals on "homemade" equipment Just like the amateur radio operators could pickup the signal from Sputnik.
If you have a satellite receiver at least 10 feet wide, know which direction to point it in and have equipment that can listen to the 8GHz band, you can potentially pick it up. Some guy in Portugal did it back in 2006.
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Old Mar 21, 2013, 01:58 PM   #17
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If you have a satellite receiver at least 10 feet wide, know which direction to point it in and have equipment that can listen to the 8GHz band, you can potentially pick it up. Some guy in Portugal did it back in 2006.
eBay here I come.
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Old Mar 21, 2013, 02:41 PM   #18
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I find it amazing that we can still communicate with a device that was launched over 30 years ago and is now 11+ billion miles from earth.
I know, some people around here have trouble with iPhones that are 3 years old...
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Old Mar 21, 2013, 02:45 PM   #19
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Some alien out there is really gonna be pi$$ed when our junk floats by his/her living room window. "There goes the neighborhood." :-)
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Old Mar 22, 2013, 11:16 AM   #20
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Voyager has the record featuring music and also directions to earth? It would be interesting to launch a version of Jeff Bezo's 10,000 year clock, although far away in some strange gravity aliens may not be able to directly relate to time as we know it. It would still be cool, transmitting chimes as it flies on forever.
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Old Mar 22, 2013, 04:32 PM   #21
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Voyager has the record featuring music and also directions to earth? It would be interesting to launch a version of Jeff Bezo's 10,000 year clock, although far away in some strange gravity aliens may not be able to directly relate to time as we know it. It would still be cool, transmitting chimes as it flies on forever.
Actually the time would be off:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_dilation
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Old Mar 22, 2013, 04:50 PM   #22
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http://xkcd.com/1189/

I keep thinking of the weary traveler's refrain: "Are we there yet?".
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Old Mar 22, 2013, 05:02 PM   #23
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I wonder how far will it reach until it stops transmitting.
According to the wikipedia article it will run out of power and not be able to power any individual instrument sometime between 2025 and 2030.
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Old Mar 22, 2013, 05:20 PM   #24
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According to the wikipedia article it will run out of power and not be able to power any individual instrument sometime between 2025 and 2030.
I bet the article has the answer to this next question. Why will it run out of power? Not enough sun light?
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Old Mar 22, 2013, 05:39 PM   #25
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I bet the article has the answer to this next question. Why will it run out of power? Not enough sun light?
They are powered by RTG's. The plutonium in them will be used up.
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