Solar System Is Dented: Voyager

Intrepid spacecraft finds strange bulges in the heliosphere
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 11, 2007 9:18 AM CST
Solar System Is Dented: Voyager
An artist's rendition of the solar system and the boundary region.   (NASA)

Far out in space, a violent boundary zone marks the point where our solar system ends and outer space begins. NASA's Voyager 2 has now confirmed what its sister ship indicated: that this region is squashed and uneven, reports. This shock wave "sloshes back and forth like surf on a beach," says a scientist. "There's something outside pushing in."

This interstellar crest doesn't behave like a normal shock wave, however. Instead of heating up as it encounters obstacles, the wave seems to be transmitting its energy to cosmic ray particles, shooting them off in all directions. The Voyager spacecraft, both launched in 1977 and still chugging away, will soon exit our solar system entirely. (Read more solar system stories.)

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