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Voyager 2 reaches interstellar space

Caayn

Member


For the second time in history, a human-made object has reached the space between the stars. NASA’s Voyager 2 probe now has exited the heliosphere – the protective bubble of particles and magnetic fields created by the Sun.
Comparing data from different instruments aboard the trailblazing spacecraft, mission scientists determined the probe crossed the outer edge of the heliosphere on Nov. 5. This boundary, called the heliopause, is where the tenuous, hot solar wind meets the cold, dense interstellar medium. Its twin, Voyager 1, crossed this boundary in 2012, but Voyager 2 carries a working instrument that will provide first-of-its-kind observations of the nature of this gateway into interstellar space.

Voyager 2 now is slightly more than 11 billion miles (18 billion kilometers) from Earth. Mission operators still can communicate with Voyager 2 as it enters this new phase of its journey, but information – moving at the speed of light – takes about 16.5 hours to travel from the spacecraft to Earth. By comparison, light traveling from the Sun takes about eight minutes to reach Earth.




While the probes have left the heliosphere, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 have not yet left the solar system, and won’t be leaving anytime soon. The boundary of the solar system is considered to be beyond the outer edge of the Oort Cloud, a collection of small objects that are still under the influence of the Sun’s gravity. The width of the Oort Cloud is not known precisely, but it is estimated to begin at about 1,000 astronomical units (AU) from the Sun and to extend to about 100,000 AU. One AU is the distance from the Sun to Earth. It will take about 300 years for Voyager 2 to reach the inner edge of the Oort Cloud and possibly 30,000 years to fly beyond it.

Source: https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-s-voyager-2-probe-enters-interstellar-space
 
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nkarafo

Member
While the probes have left the heliosphere, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 have not yet left the solar system, and won’t be leaving anytime soon. The boundary of the solar system is considered to be beyond the outer edge of the Oort Cloud, a collection of small objects that are still under the influence of the Sun’s gravity. The width of the Oort Cloud is not known precisely, but it is estimated to begin at about 1,000 astronomical units (AU) from the Sun and to extend to about 100,000 AU. One AU is the distance from the Sun to Earth. It will take about 300 years for Voyager 2 to reach the inner edge of the Oort Cloud and possibly 30,000 years to fly beyond it.
All that inside our own solar system. To reach the closest solar system would take what, 1 trillion years?
 
That's pretty amazing, I wonder how long it will operate until it runs out of power or otherwise malfunctions? Can it still send signals beyond a certain point?
 

Redneckerz

Those long posts don't cover that red neck boy
I have been tracking the Voyager Program for atleast 10 years now in some shape of form.

To me, they represent almost something mythical - These sattelites, floating in the now unaffected universe.. sending back those little bits and bytes (up to 1.4 kbit!) still making measurements.

Voyager was also host to the Family Portrait shot and the Pale Blue Dot. The latter triggers the imagination so intensely.

To know that, despite roaming in unaffected space now, they are (Relatively) just a pencil drop away from your finger...

It is inspiring. It tells me that when cooperation meets innovation, when teamwork meets geniality, you achieve harmony as humans intended it to be.

The Voyager Story (And also that of Star Trek Voyager).. if i ever happen to be a grandpa, this will be the story i will tell my kids. And that they pass it down to their kin.

It, quite literally, is the story of a lifetime.
 

Caayn

Member
Amazing! Will we get images?
Unlikely. The cameras have been disabled to ensure that the probe stays within the power limits of the slowly dwindling radioactive generator.

While the idea of such an image would be cool. In reality it's nothing more than that, earth or any other planet wouldn't be visible from such a distance. Even on the famous "pale blue dot" image, which is taken at just a third of the distance the voyager 2 is currently at, the earth is a mere 10% of a single pixel.

Pale blue dot said:
How is the probe still able to transmit any sort of information at that distance?
Lots of patience, using a directional antenna aimed at earth and having multiple clusters of dish antennas on earth to receive the signal. Next to the extreme latency (16.5 hours) the bandwidth is also low which would be best measured in bytes per second at such a distance.
 
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Blam

Member
Unlikely. The cameras have been disabled to ensure that the probe stays within the power limits of the slowly dwindling radioactive generator.

While the idea of such an image would be cool. In reality it's nothing more than that, earth or any other planet wouldn't be visible from such a distance. Even on the famous "pale blue dot" image, which is taken at just a third of the distance the voyager 2 is currently at, the earth is a mere 10% of a single pixel.


Lots of patience, using a directional antenna aimed at earth and having multiple clusters of dish antennas on earth to receive the signal. Next to the extreme latency (16.5 hours) the bandwidth is also low which would be best measured in bytes per second at such a distance.
16.5 is impressive.
 

Redneckerz

Those long posts don't cover that red neck boy
have we sent any similar but more sensitive/powerful/modern probes up in later years?
New Horizons, after his current mission is also heading towards the heliosheath after doing the now famous Pluto shots and its quicker than both Voyager's. But given it launched so late, it will never surpass them. In 2038 it will be at 100 AU and nearing the heliosheath. See also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Horizons#Post-mission_phase
16.5 is impressive.
That's literally light hours, though, at 300.000 km/s. :) Its a long effing distance, and its literally nothing on the scale of the universe.

It makes things humbling.
 

Blam

Member
New Horizons, after his current mission is also heading towards the heliosheath after doing the now famous Pluto shots and its quicker than both Voyager's. But given it launched so late, it will never surpass them. In 2038 it will be at 100 AU and nearing the heliosheath. See also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Horizons#Post-mission_phase

That's literally light hours, though, at 300.000 km/s. :) Its a long effing distance, and its literally nothing on the scale of the universe.

It makes things humbling.
Honestly I'm less impressed at the time but more that the thing has been on for 41 fuckin years. and still works and it is still sending us data.
 

Redneckerz

Those long posts don't cover that red neck boy
Honestly I'm less impressed at the time but more that the thing has been on for 41 fuckin years. and still works and it is still sending us data.
Another put-it-in-perspective thing: The first shots of New Horizon's Pluto, taken all the way back in 2006 when it was just travelling to it and arriving at it, 9 years later:

 

Mohonky

Member
Its mind boggling stuff and yet in the greater scheme of things, it's covered precisely fuck all of the universe.

Still, that its sending back data and we can even receive it is just staggering.

Look back on Earth from shots from as near as the moon its amazing to think of all the fighting and chaos on our planet being so insignificant and trivial, from where it is now, to look back and think that everything that has ever happen to us, our entire history has taken place on what is barely even a dot, is humbling
 

Redneckerz

Those long posts don't cover that red neck boy
Yeah, and I can't even get 5 bars on my fucking cellphone.
Throw it in the air so its closer to the satellites it needs to get its data from.
Don't forget to catch your phone whilst doing this.
 
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