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"Using data from Voyager, we have discovered a strong magnetic field just outside the solar system," explains lead author Merav Opher, a NASA Heliophysics Guest Investigator from George Mason University. "This magnetic field holds the interstellar cloud together and solves the long-standing puzzle of how it can exist at all."
Astronomers call the cloud we're running into now the Local Interstellar Cloud or "Local Fluff" for short. It's about 30 light years wide and contains a wispy mixture of hydrogen and helium atoms at a temperature of 6000 C. The existential mystery of the Fluff has to do with its surroundings. About 10 million years ago, a cluster of supernovas exploded nearby, creating a giant bubble of million-degree gas. The Fluff is completely surrounded by this high-pressure supernova exhaust and should be crushed or dispersed by it.
The fact that the Fluff is strongly magnetized means that other clouds in the galactic neighborhood could be, too. Eventually, the solar system will run into some of them, and their strong magnetic fields could compress the heliosphere even more than it is compressed now. Additional compression could allow more cosmic rays to reach the inner solar system, possibly affecting terrestrial climate and the ability of astronauts to travel safely through space.
October 19, 2012 marks exactly four years since the launch of the IBEX spacecraft. On that same date in 2008, the many in the team and I watched from Dulles, Virginia as IBEX was carried into space by a Pegasus rocket launched from Kwajalein, an atoll in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It was a tense day, but in the end, everything worked out just fine and IBEX was safely in its initial orbit around Earth. In the last weeks of December, we were elated when IBEX began detecting energetic neutral atoms (ENAs) coming from the boundary of our Solar System. Little did we know that day the amazing discoveries that were in store for us. In October 2009, IBEX’s first science results were released, highlighting the surprising and completely unexpected "IBEX Ribbon," an arc–shaped region in the sky that is producing many more ENAs than was expected. During the past three years, we also have detected neutral atoms from outside our heliosphere as they make their way to Earth’s region of our Solar System, and we have discovered ENAs coming from the surface of our Moon and from regions just outside and inside Earth’s magnetosphere. Most recently, we announced that there is no bow shock for our heliosphere, a complete paradigm shift from what was thought before. To date, scientists have already published 100 papers related to this small but remarkable mission — what an incredible scientific harvest!
Snipped quote of the entire OP of the thread.
Originally posted by nitrobandit
If we are living in a simulation how far out would it make sense to extend it? If the operator of this simulation detects that we find the edge of it maybe they will reboot it?
Originally posted by djmarcone
Some day we'll probably pass V1 and wave as we go by.
Originally posted by smyleegrl
So, it seems Voyager 1 is encountering some high strangeness as it prepares to leave the solar system.
Originally posted by Josephus
I say it's going to crash into a wall; in the vein of Jim Carrey's boat in The Truman Show. Perhaps this will happen on December 21st. That could cause a societal shift back here at home.
Originally posted by AlexIR
Strangely enough, V1 does have a camera and it took this iconic picture:
This is the image of the earth as seen from 6 billion kilometers away.
Wonder why they didn't release any more images since then.