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Is Voyager 40k years from a star?

  1. Dec 11, 2015 #1
    Greetings! I read this article on line, where it states that Voyager 1 has an appointment with a star, AC +79 3888, which is 17.6 light years away, in 40,000 years. However, if voyager is traveling at 35,000 mph, that number seems off. Shouldn't it be 319,000 years to travel that distance?

    I'm only asking because I only barely know what I'm doing here...

    My calculation:

    35000 mph = 328,320,000 mp/year
    6T / 328,320,000 =18,274 years to travel 1 ly
    18,274 * 17.5 = 319,795

    http://www.space.com/22783-voyager-1-interstellar-space-star-flyby.html

    PS - I'm not accounting for time traveled, since it is only about 18 light minutes.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 11, 2015 #2

    Student100

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    The article states that the probe will approach short of a light year to the star, further, the timeline could still be correct if the star systems is moving towards the projected path of the probe. (I haven't verified it)

    The calculation needs to take account of these things.

    The probe is also further than 18 light minutes, perhaps you meant hours.
     
  4. Dec 11, 2015 #3

    Janus

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    The star mentioned has a radial velocity of ~119 km/s towards the solar system. When you factor that in, you get the 40,000 yr figure ( by the time Voyager passes it, it will only be 1.73 ly from the Solar system.
     
  5. Dec 11, 2015 #4

    Vanadium 50

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    It is perhaps worth pointing out that when Voyager 1 is at its closest to Gliese 445 it's still roughly half-way between the sun and this star.
     
  6. Dec 12, 2015 #5
    Ok. That's cool. Thanks!
     
  7. Dec 12, 2015 #6

    SteamKing

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    Yes. After all, the earth is about 8 light-minutes from the sun. :wink:
     
  8. Dec 12, 2015 #7
    So basically the article is a bit misleading by mentioning the the current distance to Gliese 445 by not mentioning that it is moving towards the solar system. Understandable, of course, as it a pop level article.
     
  9. Dec 12, 2015 #8
    A couple of you mentioned the question of how far v1 is right now from earth. I got my info from the Voyager odometer:

    http://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/where/

    It lists light round trip time at 37 minutes. That would be 18.5 light minutes distance? Or am I misreading this?
     
  10. Dec 12, 2015 #9

    SteamKing

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    Yes you are. The round trip time is 37 hours, 13 minutes, 14 seconds. That's why there's that hh:mm:ss printed below the numbers..
     
  11. Dec 12, 2015 #10

    SteamKing

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  12. Dec 12, 2015 #11
    Yikes... total brain fart there. Thanks SteamKing
     
  13. Dec 12, 2015 #12

    fresh_42

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    Just for "completion":
    Kuiper Belt ≈ 35 - 80 AU ≈ 5 - 11 Lh
    Eris ≈ 68 AU ≈ 9.4 Lh
    Oort Cloud ≈ 1.6 Ly
     
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