Voyager May Have Left Solar System—a Year Ago

Blended magnetic fields at solar system's edge blurred crossing: study
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 19, 2013 7:45 AM CDT
Voyager May Have Left Solar System—a Year Ago
This artist rendering shows Voyager 1 at the edge of the solar system.   (AP Photo/NASA)

The Voyager 1 spacecraft, expected to leave our solar system any day now, may actually have already done so—more than a year ago. Though similar reports were squashed earlier this year, a new study in Astrophysical Journal Letters suggests that the craft passed beyond the solar system's edge on July 27, 2012. "It's a somewhat controversial view, but we think Voyager has finally left the solar system," said the author, who is not a Voyager scientist, per Christian Science Monitor. And now? "Basically it's just happily heading out towards... pretty much nowhere."

How did scientists miss that little detail? The magnetic fields Voyager crossed were blended together, so no change in magnetic fields was registered to mark the craft's exit as scientists expected, the report argues. But still, NASA isn't on board. Voyager's chief scientist tells NPR that until a change in magnetic field is seen, it's still within our sun's reach. He adds: "I think that there is a very good chance before we run out of electrical power that we will be demonstrably in interstellar space." (More space exploration stories.)

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