Feeds

Voyager ticks one box for interstellar arrival

“Very rapid escalation” in galactic rays hints at new region of SPAAAAAACE

A new approach to endpoint data protection

The venerable Voyager 1 spacecraft seems to be a little closer to leaving our Sun's neighbourhood behind and entering interstellar space, says NASA.

The space agency has outlined three criteria that must be satisfied before Voyager will be deemed to have left the heliosphere, the first of which is detection of galactic cosmic rays. Voyager apparently detected a 25 per cent increase in such rays between January 2009 and January 2012, but recent readings apparently surpass that rate of growth and represent a “very rapid escalation” in galactic ray detection.

Where are the voyagers?

The Voyagers are here, NASA says

The second factor NASA believes could point at crossing the threshold between solar space and interstellar space is measurement of energetic particles found near the sun. The agency's recent report on Voyager 1's progress says the probe has found a “slow decline” in the prevalence of such particles, but there's no smoking gun just yet. Indeed, NASA says if Voyager had passed beyond the heliosphere we would expect their presence to drop off “precipitously”.

The third sign that Voyager 1 has well and truly left the building would be a re-orientation of magnetic fields around the craft. There's no sign of that yet.

NASA officials nonetheless gushed about the possibility that Voyager 1 might break through into interstellar space real soon now. Indeed, it may already have done so, as the agency says it's crunching recently-arrived data in ongoing efforts to ascertain just what's going on out there.

Voyager's high gain antenna, which sends science data back to earth, is said to send data at rates “ … as high as 7.2 kilobits per second”. Recent reports suggest the probe is 17,911,000,000km from earth, so we're pretty sure there's a few packets dropped along the way. That could make ascertaining just when the craft enters interstellar space a tad tricky, you'd imagine. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Boffins spot weirder quantum capers as neutrons take the high road, spin takes the low
Cheshire cat effect see neutrons and their properties walk different paths
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Brit amateur payload set to complete full circle around PLANET EARTH
Ultralight solar radio tracker in glorious 25,000km almost-space odyssey
NASA Mars rover FINALLY equals 1973 Soviet benchmark
Yet to surpass ancient Greek one, however
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?