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Voyager 2 Detects Odd Shape of Solar System's Edge

  1. May 24, 2006 #1
    So if it does get will we still have contact with it
  2. jcsd
  3. May 25, 2006 #2
    In theory, yes. Both spacecraft are capable of generating electricity till something like 2020 as I recall. The act of passing though the termination shock should theoretically not stop it from communicating it's data back to earth. Only charged particles tend to be influenced by this termination shock phenomenon, whereas radio waves and neutral particles would cruise right through it.
  4. May 25, 2006 #3
    I was curious about what might cause this odd shape in the boundary of the heliosphere. One explanation that I have seen, but don't thoroughly understand, was that perhaps there is a weak magnetic field pressing inward on the southern hemisphere. I don't know if there is evidence that points to a magnetic field, or if that is just speculation.

    Is it too simplistic to wonder if that asymmetry is just kind of a Doppler-like phenomenon indicating where our solar system is moving through the galaxy and how fast? Or is that bit already fairly well understood?
  5. May 25, 2006 #4

    I would say that we are witnessing the effect of plasma and other charged particles that are generally flowing toward the sun from the southern end of the solar system. The earth's magnetic shield is shaped a bit like a teardrop with the tail facing away from the sun since most of the charged particles are flowing from the sun. In this case, most likely what we observe is the result of charged particles from the universe that are flowing toward our solar system from the southern regions.

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