The structure of the solar system, from a magnetic point of view. From NASA.

By Evan

The National Post has put up an informative summary page on the Voyager 1 probe. Voyager 1 is set to officially leave the solar system and enter interstellar space sometime during the next few years, crossing over the heliopause.

NASA put out a news release earlier this month explaining the evidence that the probe is entering interstellar space. Since early May, there has been a large increase in the amount of interstellar particles hitting Voyager 1, indicating a lessened influence of the sun. The heliopause is the limit before the sun’s particles are deflected completely by the interstellar wind. Once Voyager 1 exits the heliopause, scientists expect the magnetic field detected by the probe to change dramatically.

Perhaps I am dating myself a bit here, but the Voyager probes had a big influence on my interest in science. I was in elementary school when Voyager 2 reached Neptune, and I became fascinated by the planets. Thereafter, I always took an interest in the geological and planetary sciences. I think childhood memories of the Voyager mission even influenced by decision to write a term paper on the magnetic fields of the planets when I was taking a fourth year geophysics course on magnetism! The sheer scope of the Voyager mission has never been duplicated, which I feel is a shame. I think that missions of this kind truly capture the imagination of children, and would influence their decision to study geophysics!