Yesterday, NASA announced their findings from Curiosity rover soil samples, but in other really big astronomy news, the Voyager I space probe has discovered a brand new layer of the skin at the edge of the solar system— a “magnetic highway”, that ferries charged particles in a thin layer just on the edge of the sun’s reach.
Scientists refer to this new region as a magnetic highway for charged particles because our sun’s magnetic field lines are connected to interstellar magnetic field lines. This connection allows lower-energy charged particles that originate from inside our heliosphere — or the bubble of charged particles the sun blows around itself — to zoom out and allows higher-energy particles from outside to stream in. Before entering this region, the charged particles bounced around in all directions, as if trapped on local roads inside the heliosphere.
The Voyager team infers this region is still inside our solar bubble because the direction of the magnetic field lines has not changed. The direction of these magnetic field lines is predicted to change when Voyager breaks through to interstellar space. The new results were described at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco on Monday.
“Although Voyager 1 still is inside the sun’s environment, we now can taste what it’s like on the outside because the particles are zipping in and out on this magnetic highway,” said Edward Stone, Voyager project scientist based at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena. “We believe this is the last leg of our journey to interstellar space. Our best guess is it’s likely just a few months to a couple years away. The new region isn’t what we expected, but we’ve come to expect the unexpected from Voyager.”
Since December 2004, when Voyager 1 crossed a point in space called the termination shock, the spacecraft has been exploring the heliosphere’s outer layer, called the heliosheath. In this region, the stream of charged particles from the sun, known as the solar wind, abruptly slowed down from supersonic speeds and became turbulent. Voyager 1’s environment was consistent for about five and a half years. The spacecraft then detected that the outward speed of the solar wind slowed to zero.
The intensity of the magnetic field also began to increase at that time.
- l-mcd108 likes this
- samantha3399 reblogged this from 67000mph
- rowrosaurus reblogged this from iheartchaos
- bowserrebels likes this
- 67000mph reblogged this from nativechef
- whiteychan reblogged this from iheartchaos
- armoredcreative reblogged this from iheartchaos
- colorvomitworld reblogged this from iheartchaos
- unclecasval likes this
- nativechef reblogged this from iheartchaos
- nativechef likes this
- nsfwasm reblogged this from iheartchaos
- nsfwasm likes this
- gerhardnihonto likes this
- beansidhe likes this
- desuko likes this
- intheirwreckage likes this
- a-powerful-wizard reblogged this from iheartchaos
- spazolot reblogged this from iheartchaos
- truthbeknown likes this
- peachyypit reblogged this from iheartchaos
- peachyypit likes this
- thebadluckbird reblogged this from iheartchaos
- eisbaerkrieg reblogged this from iheartchaos
- anicebabyforeverymeal reblogged this from obese-cats
- anicebabyforeverymeal likes this
- zenandartof-tum-blrmaint reblogged this from iheartchaos
- zaharat reblogged this from iheartchaos
- zaharat likes this
- obese-cats reblogged this from iheartchaos and added:
- gunslingers-thoughts reblogged this from iheartchaos
- okorogariist likes this
- iheartchaos posted this