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Has NASA voyager 1 exited Solar System?

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An artistic illustration of Voyager 1 spacecraft. A NASA photo

WASHINGTON (PTI): NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft may have already exited the Solar System and entered interstellar space, according to a newly published research paper.

The model described in the paper is new and different from other models used so far to explain the data the spacecraft has been sending back from more than 18 billion kilometres away from our Sun, according to a NASA statement.

NASA's Voyager project scientist, Ed Stone of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, said: "Details of a new model have just been published that lead the scientists who created the model to argue that NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft data can be consistent with entering interstellar space in 2012.

"In describing on a fine scale how magnetic field lines from the Sun and magnetic field lines from interstellar space can connect to each other, they conclude Voyager 1 has been detecting the interstellar magnetic field since July 27, 2012," said Stone.

Stone said the model would mean that the interstellar magnetic field direction is the same as that which originates from our Sun.

He said other models envision the interstellar magnetic field draped around our solar bubble and predict that the direction of the interstellar magnetic field is different from the solar magnetic field inside.

By that interpretation, Voyager 1 would still be inside our solar bubble, said Stone.

"The Voyager 1 spacecraft is exploring a region no spacecraft has ever been to before. We will continue to look for any further developments over the coming months and years as Voyager explores an uncharted frontier," Stone said.

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