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Has Voyager 1 entered interstellar space? After 35 years, Voyager 1 (11 billion miles from earth) and its sister (Voyager 2, 9 billion miles) "are now poised to become the first man-made objects to leave the bubble around our sun known as the heliosphere and enter what is known as interstellar space."

Noting a steep drop in "the rate of particles (mostly protons) from the sun hitting the probe" as one sign, "there's still one major piece of data that will take Voyager's scientists longer to analyze, [and] that's the data from the magnetometer, which will show changes in the magnetic field."

For now, the best guess is that "We don't know, because we've never been there before."

In other space-related news, Alpha Centauri has a planet!

Astronomers have announced they have found a planet orbiting one of the stars making up the most famous star in the sky: Alpha Centauri, the closest star system to our own! At 4.3 light years distant, this is far and away the closest exoplanet known... and of course, it has to be.

Interestingly, Alpha Centauri Bb "is only 1.13 times the Earth's mass, making this one of the lower mass planets yet found!"

...we are very close to finding a planet with the same mass as Earth at just the right distance from its star to have liquid water, and therefore, potentially life [...] statistically speaking there should be millions of them in the galaxy. It's only a matter of time before we find the first one.

It's especially intriguing that one of them is so close to home!

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on October 16, 2012 7:19 PM.

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