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Voyager crossing superhighway to solar system exit

Latest frontier may be last before spacecraft reaches interstellar space

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9:19pm, December 4, 2012

On its way out of the solar system, the Voyager 1 spacecraft has encountered a “magnetic highway” of charged particles — a hint that the spacecraft may not have far to go before reaching the brink of interstellar space.

This so-called highway lies where the sun’s magnetic field and the interstellar magnetic field meet. Particles blown outward by the solar wind are speeding in one direction, while particles from cosmic rays generated outside the solar system are racing inward.

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