# Leaving the solar system

• SPB COOPERATOR

#### SPB COOPERATOR

I have read articles about the Voyager probes leaving the solar system (or not) depending on what definition is used. So, another definition - do the Voyagers have sufficient velocity to escape the Sun's gravitati0nal influence?

SPB COOPERATOR said:
...do the Voyagers have sufficient velocity to escape the Sun's gravitati0nal influence?
Yes.

Technically, the Sun's gravitational influence extends indefinitely. The Voyager spacecraft , however, are not in an orbit of the Sun - they have more than what is known as the escape velocity. Eventually, the primary gravitational influence will be another nearby star.

SPB COOPERATOR and russ_watters
Ooops I overlooked the point the the Sun's Ve of 617.5 km/s is from the sun itself, not the solar system. Does the solar system itself have Ve and even the galaxy itself?

SPB COOPERATOR said:
Ooops I overlooked the point the the Sun's Ve of 617.5 km/s is from the sun itself, not the solar system. Does the solar system itself have Ve and even the galaxy itself?
This page gives you an estimated galactic escape velocity relative to the Sun of 550 km/s:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milky_Way

Voyager is traveling at ##15 km/s## relative to the Sun.

## 1. What does it mean to "leave the solar system"?

Leaving the solar system refers to the act of a spacecraft or object traveling beyond the gravitational influence of the sun and entering interstellar space.

## 2. How far away is the edge of the solar system?

The edge of the solar system, also known as the heliopause, is estimated to be about 123 astronomical units (AU) away from the sun. This is roughly 11 billion miles away.

## 3. Has any spacecraft left the solar system?

Yes, NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft officially left the solar system in 2012 and Voyager 2 followed in 2018. These spacecrafts were launched in 1977 and have been traveling for over 40 years to reach the edge of the solar system.

## 4. What happens to a spacecraft when it leaves the solar system?

Once a spacecraft leaves the solar system, it will continue to travel through the vastness of interstellar space. It will encounter different cosmic rays and magnetic fields and may continue to send back data to Earth if its communication systems are still functional.

## 5. How long would it take for a spacecraft to leave the solar system?

The amount of time it takes for a spacecraft to leave the solar system depends on its speed and trajectory. For example, Voyager 1 took about 35 years to reach the edge of the solar system, while New Horizons (launched in 2006) is estimated to take about 30 years to reach the heliopause.