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Posted by on Dec 4, 2012 in Science |

Voyager 1 reaches the “magnetic highway”, the edge of the solar system

The has announced a few hours ago that the space probe Voyager 1 has reached a new region, the boundary or edge of the solar system before entering interstellar space. A region that scientists have dubbed “magnetic highway”.

According to the researchers, the new region of the heliosphere, the bubble of charged particles from the Sun that surrounds the solar system, known as “magnetic highway”. It is where solar particles leave our planetary system, an enclave where magnetic field lines converge with those of the sun coming from other stars.

There is the characteristic that before entering the region boundary, the particles follow the magnetic field lines of the sun bouncing in all directions. A story that has been at the meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco. Edward Stone, project scientist, explained the event:

Although is still within the environment of the sun, we can now test how it feels on the outside, because the particles are compressed and reduced magnetic this highway. We believe this is the last leg of our journey into interstellar space. The new region is not what we expected, but we have come to expect the unexpected from the Voyager. We are in a magnetic region we had never seen before, about 10 times more intense than the termination shock front.

And is that the team believes that Voyager 1 is still in the heliosphere, since the direction of the magnetic fields that surround it has not changed. It is expected that the direction of the magnetic field lines change when the probe enters interstellar space.

Even so, from now on each news will mean a new discovery in an area unknown to man. Stamatios Krimigis, another head of research scientists and instrument STEL (Low-Energy Charged Particle), explained:

If we were to judge only by the facts charged particle data, I would have thought we were out of the heliosphere. In fact, our instrument has seen these low energy particles take this exit ramp into interstellar space. But we have to understand what the instruments are telling us, and only time will tell if our interpretations of this border are correct.

One thing is certain: none of our theoretical models predict any of the observations made by Voyager during the last ten years, so we have no guide to tell us what we can expect from now.

Voyager 1 and 2 were launched with 16 days apart in 1977. These two probes that pass through the ships with more years of service, the Voyager 1 being the object has moved away over the Earth traveling at a relative speed of the Earth and the Sun faster than any other spacecraft. At present, very close to reaching an unknown area and cross somewhere interstellar space.

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