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On July 28, levels of high-energy cosmic ray particles originating from outside our solar system increased by 5 percent

NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft managed to catch the fastest rate of changes on the edge of the solar system. 
The Voyager 1 is a NASA space probe that was launched in 1977 to study the outer solar system. It is now in the heliosheath, which is which is the outermost layer of the heliosphere. This area is very turbulent, and acts as the outer layer of the bubble of charged particles that surrounds the sun. 
The Voyager 1 has been studying this bubble of charged particles, and in doing so, caught the fastest rate of change in two of three signs of changes expected to occur at this particular area. The three signs of changes are the rate in which levels of high-energy cosmic ray particles increase, the rate in which lower-energy particles decrease, and the direction of the magnetic field. 
On July 28, levels of high-energy cosmic ray particles originating from outside our solar system increased by 5 percent. In the last half of that same day, lower-energy particles originating from inside our solar system decreased by half. Three days later, all levels returned to normal. This was the fastest rate of change observed so far. 
As far as the direction of the magnetic field goes, the data needs to be analyzed to determine if this occurred or not. These results should be available next month. 
This is all crucial information as Voyager 1 attempts to cross into interstellar space. NASA expects this to occur, but it does not know when. When this does happen, Voyager 1 will be the first manmade spacecraft to exit the solar system and dive into interstellar space. 
According to NASA scientists, the levels of lower-energy particles will drop to zero before Voyager 1 crosses into interstellar space. 
"These are thrilling times for the Voyager team as we try to understand the quickening pace of changes as Voyager 1 approaches the edge of interstellar space," said Edward Stone. Voyager 1 project scientist from the California Institute of Technology. "We are certainly in a new region at the edge of the solar system where things are changing rapidly. But we are not yet able to say that Voyager 1 has entered interstellar space."


Source: Science Daily

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RE: Chills!
By JediJeb on 8/8/2012 2:20:53 PM , Rating: 2
I just get chills when I think of Voyager. I was born in 1977! To think that way back then we had the foresight and drive to launch something for deep space, which to this day is still giving us valuable information about out Solar System, and hopefully beyond, is amazing to me. Talk about American exceptionalism and ingenuity. NASA estimates Voyager 1's power source will keep it running until around 2020. I'm amazed all the electronics still work! On something designed with 1970's technology? My hats off to everyone involved in such a project and who works this very day to keep our little probe going at 636 miles per second to the historic goal of leaving our Solar System. I'm just in awe.

I was 10 years old when it launched and I so well remember when the first photos were coming back from both Voyager I and Voyager II. I was buying every magazine I could find with those photos, Astronomy, Sky and Telescope, National Geographic, ect. I only wish that as many children today would be as interested as we were back then with news of discovery and exploration such as this, and that we were doing that much exploration now. I felt like a kid again just watching the JPL coverage of the new Mars rover landing the other night, I just wonder if that was even talked about the next day in most school science classes.

As for the 70's tech lasting so long, it probably isn't such a stretch to see it lasting longer than current systems. There are TV's from the 70's still working today and yet the ones made in the last few years will be lucky to be working so well ten years from now. Can micro circuit boards and components outlast massive capacitors, vacuum tubes and heavy gauge wiring? Maybe faster and more efficient isn't always better when longevity is the goal.

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