Google+ SpaceTravelFoundation: NASA confirms that Voyager 1 in interstellar space

July 11, 2014

NASA confirms that Voyager 1 in interstellar space

Dear readers and followers,


Voyager 1 made headlines around the world last year when mission scientists announced that the probe had apparently left the heliosphere in August 2013. Few weeks ago, new data collected by the +NASA's spacecraft have helped scientists confirm that the far-flung probe is indeed cruising through interstellar space, the researchers say.

Credit image: NASA

They came to this conclusion after analyzing measurements Voyager 1 made in the wake of a powerful solar eruption known as a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME). The shock wave from this CME caused the particles around Voyager 1 to vibrate substantially, allowing mission scientists to calculate the density of the probe's surroundings. 
The CME in question erupted in March 2012, and its shock wave reached Voyager 1 in April 2013. After these data came in, the team dug up another, much smaller CME-shock event from late 2012 that had initially gone unnoticed. By combining these separate measurements with knowledge of Voyager 1's cruising speed, the researchers were able to trace the probe's entry into interstellar space to August 2012.

Credit image: NASA

Now mission scientists from NASA announced on July 7th, that the third CME shock has been really observed by Voyager 1 in March 2014. The spacecraft launched in September 1977, about two weeks after its twin, Voyager 2. The probes embarked upon a "grand tour" of the outer solar system, giving the world some its first good looks at Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and the moons of these planets. Like Voyager 1, Voyager 2 is still active and operational. It took a different route through the solar system and is expected to follow its twin into interstellar space a few years from now.

Stay tuned