Feeds

Boffins claim Voyager has already left the Solar System

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

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
'Utter killjoy Reg hacks have NEVER BEEN LAID', writes a fan
'Shuddit, smarty pants!' Some readers reacted badly to our last Doctor Who review ...
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
White LED lies: It's great, but Nobel physics prize-winning great?
How artificial lighting could offer an artificial promise
NASA eyeballs SOLAR HEAT BOMBS, MINI-TORNADOES and NANOFLARES on Sun
Astro boffins probe fiery star's hidden depths
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
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?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.