Voyager 1 Leaving Our Solar System (Video)
Launched in 1977 Voyager 1 traveled through our solar system capturing some of the best data and images ever recorded in space exploration and is soon leaving the outer most boundaries of our solar system.
It is now nearly 11.5 billion miles from the Sun, speeding away at 38,000 miles per hour. Last year Voyager 1’s instruments recorded a doubling of cosmic rays from outside the solar system.
American Geophysical Union published the news that “Voyager 1 has left the solar system.” However NASA surprised at this news stated “It is the consensus of the Voyager science team that Voyager 1 has not yet left the solar system or reached interstellar space,”
Dr. Stone,the Voyager project scientist said that the critical indicator would be a change in the direction of the magnetic field, not cosmic rays, for marking the outermost boundary of the solar system. In their paper, Dr. Webber and Dr. McDonald (who died only six days after Voyager observed the shift in cosmic rays) did not claim that Voyager 1 was in interstellar space, but had entered a part of the solar system they called the “heliocliff.” The geophysical union then sent out another e-mail with the same article but a milder headline: “Voyager 1 has entered a new region of space.”
Even if Voyager has not yet left our solar system it will one day soon and that is a pretty amazing achievement in man’s exploration of space.
Check out some of the best images from the Voyager missions:
Photography of Jupiter began in January 1979, when images of the brightly banded planet already exceeded the best taken from Earth. Voyager 1 completed its Jupiter encounter in early April, after taking almost 19,000 pictures and many other scientific measurements. Voyager 2 picked up the baton in late April and its encounter continued into August. They took more than 33,000 pictures of Jupiter and its five major satellites.
The Voyager 1 and 2 Saturn encounters occurred nine months apart, in November 1980 and August 1981. Voyager 1 is leaving the solar system. Voyager 2 completed its encounter with Uranus in January 1986 and with Neptune in August 1989, and is now also en route out of the solar system.
This narrow-angle color image of the Earth, dubbed ‘Pale Blue Dot’, is a part of the first ever ‘portrait’ of the solar system taken by Voyager 1. The spacecraft acquired a total of 60 frames for a mosaic of the solar system from a distance of more than 4 billion miles from Earth and about 32 degrees above the ecliptic. From Voyager’s great distance Earth is a mere point of light, less than the size of a picture element even in the narrow-angle camera. Earth was a crescent only 0.12 pixel in size. Coincidentally, Earth lies right in the center of one of the scattered light rays resulting from taking the image so close to the sun. This blown-up image of the Earth was taken through three color filters — violet, blue and green — and recombined to produce the color image. The background features in the image are artifacts resulting from the magnification.
Voyager Interstellar Mission: “Voyager 35 Years Later” 2012 NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Public domain film from NASA: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/imagepolicy/