Evidence Voyager 1 has left our solar system

The Voyager spacecraft are like the Energizer bunny, stilllllll going. Voyager 2 passed Pioneer 6 as the oldest working satellite earlier this year, on August 13. Now data from 35-year-old Voyager 1 indicates after traveling more than 11 billion miles, that it is now past the boundary of our solar system. It’s not an official press release from JPL/CalTech, but the Houston Chronicle makes a pretty good case.

Nick Suntzeff, a Texas A&M astronomer (waves at Aggie and TiFW), pointed out the increase in cosmic rays back in June.

“This probably means that Voyager 1 has left the solar system officially, in that it is no longer protected by the solar magnetic field, and is now totally open to whatever space throws at it.

A few more months of data on the high energy particles, and there is a definite increase.

At the same time, the bottom dropped out for solar protons.

No word on the magnetometer data, which in theory should show a change in the direction of the magnetic field, but two out of three ain’t bad. I’d say Voyager 1 is in interstellar space.

If billions and billions made you think of Carl Sagan, you might enjoy this video.

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