Voyager 2 is out of Sun’s influence
More than four decades after beginning its epic journey, NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft has crossed the elusive boundary that marks the edge of the Sun’s realm and the start of interstellar space.
Voyager 2 has become the second human-made object to journey out of the Sun’s influence, following the Voyager 1’s solar exit in 2012.
According to the researchers at the University of Iowa in the US, Voyager 2 has entered the interstellar medium (ISM), the region of space outside the bubble-shaped boundary produced by wind streaming outward from the Sun.
That gives valuable clues to the structure of the heliosphere — the bubble, shaped much like a wind sock, created by the Sun’s wind as it extends to the boundary of the solar system, the researchers said.
Data from the instrument on Voyager 2 also gives additional clues to the thickness of the heliosheath, the outer region of the heliosphere and the point where the solar wind piles up against the approaching wind in interstellar space.
In this image released by NASA, data from the Voyager 2 has helped further characterise the structure of the heliosphere.
Voyager 1 and 2 were launched within weeks of each other by NASA in 1977, with different mission goals and trajectories through space. Yet they crossed into the ISM at basically the same distances from the Sun.