Space

Voyager 2 probe enters interstellar space

Automatic spacecraftNASA’s aerospace agency Voyager 2 has finally emerged from the heliosphere, a region of near-solar space in which the plasma of the solar wind moves relative to the Sun at supersonic speeds. Thus, the apparatus became the second man-made space probe that entered the interstellar space. The first, recall, is his “twin brother”, who made this achievement in 2012.

Scientists from NASA report that Voyager 2 crossedheliopause (the boundary between the heliosphere of the solar system and interstellar space) on November 5 and is now located more than 17.7 billion kilometers from Earth.

“I think we are all very pleased that bothThe Voyagers were able to work for so long that it allowed them to accomplish this achievement. We were all looking forward to it. I’m eager to get new data from both probes about how it is outside the heliopause, ”said Susanna Dodd, curator of the Voyager projects.

In October of this year, the American aerospacethe agency reported that Voyager 2 approached the outer border of the heliopause and would soon go beyond it. At that time, the sensors of the apparatus noted an increase in the energy of registered charged particles. The most significant role in proving the exit of the apparatus from the heliosphere was played by the data obtained by the PLS (Plasma Science Experiment) instrument, which determines the speed, density, temperature and pressure of the surrounding plasma medium, mainly consisting of particles of the solar wind.

General view of the instrument and data from its three sensors

The fifth of November, the Voyager 2 toolrecorded a sharp decrease in the speed of particles of the solar wind, and subsequently did not show signs of the presence of a solar wind flux near the probe, which indicates that the apparatus really left the heliosphere boundary. The same thing happened with Voyager 1 in 2012.

Three other on-board scientific instrumentsVoyager-2, a subsystem for the analysis of cosmic radiation, a low-energy charged particle analyzer and a magnetometer, also received and transmitted to Earth data that indicates that the spacecraft has gone beyond the heliosphere.

The Voyager 2 probe was launched for researchThe solar system in 1977. The device was able to get closer to all four giant planets and explore them, and then headed to the outskirts of the solar system. It was planned that the probe will work for no more than five years, but in August 2018, its mission celebrated its 41th anniversary. Now the probe is located at a distance of almost 120 astronomical units from the Earth (the most remote man-made object is Voyager 1 - the distance to the Earth is almost 145 astronomical units).

Despite the fact that both devices leftheliosphere, technically they still remain inside the solar system. They will be able to leave it only after they cross the Oort Cloud - an accumulation of gas, dust and other objects very far from the inner borders of the Solar System, which are still affected by solar gravity. And although it is not officially known what extent this region may have, scientists suggest that Voyager 2 will take about three hundred years to reach the inner border of the Oort Cloud, and perhaps about 30 thousand years to fly through it.

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