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.
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.