Space probe "Voyager-2" reached interstellar space

Space probe

WASHINGTON, Dec 11 ― Nasa's Voyager 2 probe has left the protective bubble around the Sun and is flying through interstellar space, becoming the second human-made object to travel so far, the USA space agency said yesterday.

Comparing data from different instruments aboard Voyager 2, the mission scientists determined the spacecraft crossed the outer edge of the heliosphere on November 5, 2018.

This boundary is where hot solar wind meets cold interstellar space, and it's called the heliopause.

Voyager 2 now is slightly more than 11 billion miles (18 billion km) from Earth. NASA can still communicate with Voyager 2, but information takes roughly 16.5 hours to cover the distance, travelling at the speed of light.

Now it's accomplished an even more remarkable feat, exiting the heliosphere - the protective bubble of particles and magnetic fields created by the Sun - and entering the space between the stars, NASA said in a statement.

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At its current speed, Voyager 2 most likely wouldn't reach the inner edge of the Oort Cloud for another 300 years.

The spacecraft, which launched August 20, 1977, at a cost of $895 million, was primarily created to study the outer planets, notably Jupiter and Saturn.

Voyager 2 flew by Uranus (left) in 1986 and Neptune (right) in 1989, capturing these stunning close-up images.

After crossing the edge of the sphere, which extends beyond the orbit of Pluto, the probe will now drift eternally through this new, unexplored domain of interstellar space. Like Voyager 1, it carries a golden record as a message to anyone who might come across it in the future. They were to forge their way through our Sun's domain, and become the first human-made objects to break through into interstellar space.

Trajectory of Voyager 1 spacecraft shows the scale of the solar system and Oort Cloud.

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It's important to note that there's a number of ways you can measure the end of the Solar System.

The two spacecraft were launched in the summer of 1977, fitted with instruments and cameras that astronomers hoped would provide them with information on Jupiter and Saturn over the course of five years.

Voyager 1 crossed the boundary of the heliosphere, a transition zone known as the heliopause, in 2012.

After completing what amounted to the scenic route of the planets of the solar system, NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft recently announced to its home planet that it has finally left the sun's influence.

Voyager 2 may be freshly interstellar, but it won't be anywhere near another star until 40,000 years from now.

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Voyager-2 (which was actually launched before Voyager-1 by about two weeks), traveled a bit slower than its peer. "We're able to actually look at the galaxy through the clouded lens of our heliosphere and now take a step outside with Voyager and for the first time contemplate the vistas of our local galactic neighborhood". While it launched before Voyager 1, its flight path put Voyager 2 on a slower path to reach this milestone.

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