Voyager Spacecraft Prepares to Exit the Solar System

By Eliza Strickland | December 14, 2010 12:32 pm

voyager-1Into the great unknown, into the wild blue yonder, past the second star on the right and straight on till morning: That’s where NASA’s Voyager 1 is heading. The remarkable spacecraft was launched 33 years ago, and it’s now reaching the edge of our solar system. Within a few years, NASA says, it will enter interstellar space.

Phil Plait reports on how researchers realized they’d reached a milestone in Voyager 1’s journey:

Over all those years, there has been one constant in the Voyager flight: the solar wind blowing past it. This stream of subatomic particles leaves the Sun at hundreds of kilometers per second, much faster than Voyager. But now, after 33 years, that has changed: at 17 billion kilometers (10.6 billion miles) from the Sun, the spacecraft has reached the point where the solar wind has slowed to a stop. Literally, the wind is no longer at Voyager’s back.

Read the rest of his post at Bad Astronomy.

Related Content:
80beats: The Edge of the Solar System Is a Weird and Erratic Place
80beats: Near the Edge of the Solar System, Voyager 2 Finds Magnetic Fluff
80beats: NASA Spacecraft Will Soon Map the Solar System’s Distant Edge
80beats: Voyager 2 Hits the Edge of the Solar System—and Writes Home

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space
  • Dave Grim

    Go on…

  • kiggity786

    God speed Voyager

  • har3

    V GER

  • joe

    lets just hope we havent sent out a map back to earth for some unfriendly life forms.

  • Georg

    Voyager Prepares to Exit the Solar System

    – thighten chin strap
    – stop smoking
    – fasten seat belt

  • kevin

    wish i was there

  • Lukie

    I’m totally jealous of Voyager.

  • s

    A small critque…

    more information would be helpful.

    – what’s its velocity?
    – trajectory?
    – which star is it heading to?
    – where is voyager 2?

    i suppose I’ll have to go hunting through the “related content” part. but the article is a bit anemic.

  • Mikey G

    Thats it? Lamest. Article. Evar.

  • Mikey G

    OK my bad, I just saw the other link….Damn me and my jumping to conclusions. Let me rephrase….Best… Article… Evar…

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/80beats/ Eliza Strickland

    @ s and Mikey G:

    Since DISCOVER has a number of blogs that cover breaking science news, we try to avoid duplicating each other’s efforts. This post isn’t intended to be a comprehensive article about Voyager 1, it’s simply meant to point people to the complete-write up done by another DISCOVER blogger, Bad Astronomy’s Phil Plait.

    — Eliza, DISCOVER online news editor

  • http://www.solarsystemquick.com Solar System

    It is phenomenal that both voyager probes are still sending back information after so many years and at such a distance.

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