UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) – The spacecraft, launched in 1977, is approaching the heliopause and in a few months may be in interstellar space.
The announcement was made by NASA on October 5th. It is based on two different instruments aboard the Voyager-2 apparatus. At the end of August, they began to register a small burst in cosmic rays that hit the probe. This is very similar to what Voyager 1 experienced about three months before it flew into interstellar space in 2012, but scientists cannot say for sure when this will happen this time.
“We see a change in the environment around Voyager-2, there’s no doubt about that,” says Voyager project scientist Ed Stone, a physicist at Caltech. “We will learn a lot in the coming months, but we still have no idea when we will reach the heliopause.” The only thing I can say with confidence is that we are not there yet.”
The team working on the mission of “Voyager 2” knows what the spacecraft is now located about 17.7 billion kilometers from Earth. However, it is hard to say exactly when he will leave the Solar System after passing through the heliopause.
Heliopause is a bubble around the solar system, formed by the solar wind – a stream of charged particles continuously emanating from the sun. However, this solar wind weakens every 11 years in accordance with the solar cycle. In other words, the bubble of our star system periodically expands and contracts.
Considering that Voyager-2 should not be exactly the way of its predecessor, scientists are not sure that it will experience the same changes in the data during its journey on the border of the Solar System. So, until Voyager-2 crosses the heliopause, it will not be possible to say with certainty exactly where it is located in relation to it.
Whenever he left the Solar System, Voyager-2 will become just the second man-made object that emerged into interstellar space.