Thursday, June 9, 2011

Magnetic bubbles at the edge of the solar system

The Voyager probes have been traveling away from Earth for over 30 years now. I occasionally check back on them because I have always been a bit of a space nut. Voyager 2 was special, because my son was born on the day it was launched by NASA in 1977. It was the first one launched and so was my son. Other than my little story, the Voyager Program was involved in the first Star Trek movie as a hybrid robot entity called V'ger, you might recall. That was 1979!
It's humbling to appreciate that these probes are now just at the edge of our solar system, past the orbit of Pluto the former planet, and hurtling into interstellar space. Space is really, really big, beyond imaginings!
These probes have returned a wealth of scientific data, and made discoveries that would be impossible in their absence. The latest one is that the edge of our solar system is filled with frothy magnetic bubbles. Here is NASA's explanation:

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