Voyager may not have entered interstellar space, after all | Science News

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Voyager may not have entered interstellar space, after all

Two scientists argue that probe is still in solar bubble

7:00am, July 17, 2014

IN OR OUT?  NASA claims that Voyager 1, seen in an illustration, reached interstellar space in August 2012. But a new paper argues that the probe remains within the solar bubble.

Nearly a year after NASA trumpeted Voyager 1’s departure from the sun’s protective bubble, two mission scientists argue that the spacecraft never left. Many astronomers are doubtful about the assertion, but the debate illustrates that the transition from solar bubble to interstellar space is not clear-cut.

“My tendency is to think we are out in interstellar space, but I’m not completely convinced,” says Eric Christian, an astrophysicist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., who is not on the Voyager team. “I don’t blame skeptics for looking at other explanations.”

Voyager 1 and its twin Voyager 2 completed their tours of the outer planets in 1980 and 1989, respectively. Since then, scientists have eagerly anticipated the probes’ departure from the heliosphere, the bubble of particles that encircles the sun and planets, and their entry into the unexplored space between stars. (The probes won

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