Feeds

Boffins claim Voyager has already left the Solar System

NASA hoses down new theory of 'porous, layered heliosphere'

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

There's a boffin battle brewing at the fringe of the Solar System.

At issue is whether the venerable Voyager 1 spacecraft has left the region where Sol's electromagnetic winds blow, or is still in the tiny pocket of space we call home.

The “we're outta here” camp has penned a letter in The Astrophysics Journal titled “A porous, layered heliosphere” in its corner. The letter proposes a model of the heliopause, the region of space where Sol's solar wind is halted by interstellar space, as a “a porous, multi-layered structure threaded by magnetic fields.”

Author Marc Swisdak ,a University of Maryland physicist, told Reuters "We think that the magnetic field within the solar system and in the interstellar are aligned enough that you can actually pass through without seeing a huge change in direction.” That's important because last year Voyager spotted more cosmic rays from out there in the universe and fewer charged particles coming from the Sun, but didn't detect a change in the direction of magnetic fields.

The authors' theory means the change in local particles could be evidence the craft has left the solar system, without an accompanying change of direction for magnetic fields.

The crew of boffins responsible for the letter therefore suggest Voyager 1 left the solar system in June 2012, but we didn't realise it yet because of our imperfect understanding of how things go down out there.

In the other corner is NASA, which has popped out a statement saying “The model described in the paper is new and different from other models”. Those other models posit the Solar System as comprising a bubble within which magnetic fields move in the same direction – away from the Sun – and that once one leaves the solar system magnetic fields should change.

The statement goes on to say the newly proposed model “will become part of the discussion among scientists”. And Reg readers, we imagine. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
MEN: For pity's sake SLEEP with LOTS of WOMEN - and avoid Prostate Cancer
And, um, don't sleep with other men. If that's what worries you
Voyager 1 now EIGHTEEN LIGHT HOURS from home
Almost 20 BEEELION kilometres from Sol
Jim Beam me up, Scotty! WHISKY from SPAAACE returns to Earth
They're insured for $1m, before you thirsty folks make plans
ROGUE SAIL BOAT blocks SPACE STATION PODULE blastoff
Er, we think our ISS launch beats your fishing expedition
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
BAE points electromagnetic projectile at US Army
Railguns for 'Future fighting vehicle'
OK Google, do I have CANCER?
Company talks up pill that would spot developing tumors
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
Protecting against web application threats using SSL
SSL encryption can protect server‐to‐server communications, client devices, cloud resources, and other endpoints in order to help prevent the risk of data loss and losing customer trust.