NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft has reported a significant increase in the density of space outside our known solar system.
The Voyager 2 spacecraft after an epic 41-year journey finally crossed the boundary that marks the end of the solar system and entered interstellar space in November 2018.
However, the probe spacecraft has been beaming information back to us about the space and thereby revealing that the density of space is increasing as it gets farther away.
Interestingly, the results sent by Voyager 2 have matched those of Voyager 1 which entered interstellar space in 2012 and detected similar density levels at a different location.The data shared by Voyager 2 shows that a higher density level is considered by scientists to be more of a general feature of the very local interstellar medium (VLIM), reported Science Alert.
The solar system is defined by a few boundaries, the one crossed by Voyager 2 probe is known as the heliopause, which is defined by solar winds. The heliopause is considered as the solar system’s edge and the space inside the heliopause is called the heliosphere. Given its name, the heliosphere is not a round sphere but an oval with its tip pointing towards the direction of the solar system’s orbit in the Milky Way Galaxy.
The Voyager reported the density from interstellar space was comparatively very low and was actually on the higher side than previously thought. The solar winds which have an average proton and electron density of three to 10 particles per cubic centimetre, it was noticed the winds got fainter as it goes farther away from the Sun.
While Voyager 1 probe detected a plasma density of 0.055 electrons per cubic centimetres as it crossed the heliopause in 2012. The Voyager 2 found a plasma density of 0.039 electrons per cubic centimetre, as it measured the same in 2019.
The Voyager space missions are part of the NASA’s Heliophysics System Observatory. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is responsible for launching both the spacecraft.
The Voyager 2 was launched on August 20, 1977, it was initially sent to study farther planets in our solar system such as Jupiter, Saturn among others in great detail. So far, it has managed to send several discoveries like Jupiter’s gaseous atmosphere and the 14th moon in its orbit.