The phrase “Elvis has left the building” was a phrase used by public address announcers following Elvis Presley concerts to disperse audiences who lingered on in hopes of seeing the king.
Well it appears that Voyager 1 appears to have left our solar system and entered interstellar space according to University of Maryland researchers.
The still-operational spacecraft has traveled farther from Earth than any other human-made object.
As always the UMD scientist state that “It’s a somewhat controversial view, but we think Voyager has finally left the Solar System, and is truly beginning its travels through the Milky Way.”
Why the confusion? Well unlike the well defined (/<begin>sarcasm/<end>) boarders found on Earth, it seems that interstellar space is very fluid.
But according to the model created at UMD which indicates Voyager 1 actually entered interstellar space a little more than a year ago.
NASA and other scientists beg to differ, suggesting the spacecraft is still in a fuzzily-defined transition zone between the Sun’s sphere of influence and the rest of the galaxy.
At issue is what the boundary-crossing should look like to Earth-bound observers 11 billion miles (18 billion kilometers) away.
The Sun’s heliosphere, is relatively well-understood as the region of space dominated by the magnetic field and charged particles emanating from our star.
The heliopause transition zone is both of unknown structure and location. According to conventional wisdom, we’ll know we’ve passed through this mysterious boundary when we stop seeing solar particles and start seeing galactic particles, and we also detect a change in the prevailing direction of the local magnetic field.
So, Voyager 1 may just be faking out its audience to have its own private concert with the Universe. Whenever it happens, it will be a first for mankind.
– Ex astris, scientia –
I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine. As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +