by John Timmer - Dec 3, 2012
Area surprises researchers as it wasn't predicted by models of the region.
The Voyagers have both reached the heliosheath at the edge of the Solar System, but Voyager 1 has hit a region of it we didn't know was there
Several years ago the Voyager spacecraft neared the edge of the Solar System, where the solar wind and magnetic field started to be influenced by the pressure from the interstellar medium that surrounds them. But the expected breakthrough to interstellar space appeared to be indefinitely put on hold; instead, the particles and magnetic field lines in the area seemed to be sending mixed signals about the Voyagers' escape. At today's meeting of the American Geophysical Union, scientists offered an explanation: the durable spacecraft ran into a region that nobody predicted.
The Voyager probes were sent on a grand tour of the outer planets over 35 years ago
. After a series of staggeringly successful visits to the planets, the probes shot out beyond the most distant of them toward the edges of the Solar System. Scientists expected that as they neared the edge, we'd see the charge particles of the solar wind changing direction as the interstellar medium alters the direction of the Sun's magnetic field. But while some aspects of the Voyager's environment have changed, we've not seen any clear indication that it has left the Solar System. The solar wind actually seems to be grinding to a halt.
Today's announcement clarifies that the confusion was caused by the fact that nature didn't think much of physicists' expectations. Instead, there's an additional region near our Solar System's boundary that hadn't been predicted.http://arstechnica.com/science/2012/12/voyager-1-spots-new-region-at-the-edge-of-the-solar-system/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+arstechnica%2Findex+%28Ars+Technica+-+All+content%29