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NASA’s Voyager 1 Discovers Our Solar System’s Magnetic Highway

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After 35 years of space exploration, NASA’s Voyager 1 satellite has reached the edges of our solar system. Voyager 1 has encountered a region that scientists are calling a “magnetic highway,” where charged particles take an “exit ramp” into deep space. This is the last point before Voyager 1 enters interstellar space.

This so-called “magnetic highway” is the region that connects the Sun’s magnetic field lines to interstellar magnetic field lines. This allows inner heliosphere lower-energy charged particles to zoom in and outer heliosphere higher-energy particles to stream into our solar system, which is why NASA is going for the highway metaphor. The heliposphere is the “immense magnetic bubble containing our solar system, solar wind, and the entire solar magnetic field,” according to NASA partner Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab.

Apparently, the magnetic field orientation travels East to West and was once thought to travel North to South according to a few NASA astrophysicist. This is due to the Sun and winds from explosions of supernovae influence to interstellar space.

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Voyager 1 Is About To Leave The Solar System

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The future of American space exploration may look more depressing than ever these days, between NASA budget cuts and a general disregard for science amongst chunks of the population. But the wonders are still out there, and amazing things are happening all the time if only we bother to pay attention. Case in point: Astronomy Now points out that the Voyager 1 spacecraft, launched by NASA back in 1977, is currently cruising along almost 11 billion miles from the Sun, on the threshold of entering the interstellar void. For the first time in history, a man-made object will leave our Solar System entirely. How cool is that?

Ironically, Voyager 1 completed its primary mission all the way back in 1980, sending back extensive photographs and data about Jupiter, Saturn, and their respective moons. With its last planetary close encounter behind it, Voyager has since been drifting ever further, headed for the outer edge of the Solar System. The craft is now on the edge of the heliosphere, the “bubble” surrounding the solar system created by charged particles emanating from the Sun. The latest data shows that Voyager has entered a “region of stagnation, where the stream of charged particles from the sun has slowed and the sun’s magnetic field has piled up.”

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