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Pluto is a planet
2003-Jun-01, 09:54 PM
Have they "left" the solar system yet?

Glom
2003-Jun-01, 10:12 PM
Welcome.

No. The edge of the solar system is defined by the location of the termination shock (http://vraptor.jpl.nasa.gov/voyager/p12396b.gif). The termination shock is the spheroid where the inwards pressure of interstellar stuff and the outward pressure of solar stuff are balanced. The location therefore depends on how active Sol is. The more active it is and the more forcefully is chucks out its stuff, the further away the stuff gets before dropping to interstellar pressure, hence the futher away the termination shock is. Right now, it is estimated to be about 90AU from Sol and Voyager 1 is supposed to pass that distance by the end of this year.

Check this (http://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/index.html) out.

BTW, it's a KBO. :wink: :) :P

ToSeek
2003-Jun-01, 10:13 PM
Depends on how you define "solar system." If you mean past Pluto, then yes, but probably no for most other definitions.

Voyager Interstellar Mission (http://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/mission/interstellar.html) (with diagrams)

Pluto is a planet
2003-Jun-01, 11:12 PM
The solar system does not end at the orbit of Pluto, the ninth planet. Nor does it end at the heliopause boundary, where the solar wind can no longer continue to expand outward against the interstellar wind. It extends over a thousand times farther out where a swarm of small cometary nuclei, termed Oort's Cloud, is barely held in orbit by the Sun's gravity, feeble at such a great distance. Voyager 1 passed above the orbit of Pluto in May 1988, and Voyager 2 will pass beneath Pluto's orbit in august 1990. But even at speeds of over 35,000 mph, it will take nearly 20,000 years for the Voyagers to reach the middle of the comet swarm, and possibly twice this long for them to pass the outer boundaries of cometary space. By this time, they will have traveled a distance of two light-years, equivalent to half of the distance to Proxima Centauri, the nearest star.

ToSeek
2003-Jun-01, 11:14 PM
If you knew that already, then why did you ask?

Pluto is a planet
2003-Jun-01, 11:38 PM
I wanted to know if you guys knew :wink:

Chuck
2003-Jun-02, 12:10 AM
Both Voyagers are in a storage shed next to the moon landing sound stage in Hollywood. The Mars landers are in the warehouse across the street.

AK
2003-Jun-02, 12:50 AM
Current positions:

http://heavens-above.com/solar-escape.asp?/

Tito_Muerte
2003-Jun-02, 02:54 AM
WATCH OUT CHUCK, "They" WERE TRACING YOUR COMPUTER....GET OUT OF THERE NOW....

Pinemarten
2003-Jul-15, 10:57 PM
I remember reading about their speed decreasing faster than expected. Has this been explained yet; or is Newton BA?

Schultze
2003-Jul-15, 11:50 PM
The information he posted is at least 13 years old. If you read these lines quoted:


passed above the orbit of Pluto in May 1988, and Voyager 2 will pass beneath Pluto's orbit in august 1990[/b]

Peter B
2003-Jul-16, 01:42 AM
I remember reading about their speed decreasing faster than expected. Has this been explained yet; or is Newton BA?

The effect was recorded on one of the Pioneer spacecraft, I think.

But whichever it was, the effect was *tiny*. I did some calculations somewhere and worked out that it would take something like a month to accelerate by 60 km/h (imagine your car accelerating that fast!). An answer was proposed, and I think it related to variable rates of heating on the spacecraft as it spun. So, in other words, the effect was accountable within our current knowledge.

ToSeek
2003-Jul-16, 02:22 AM
I remember reading about their speed decreasing faster than expected. Has this been explained yet; or is Newton BA?

The effect was recorded on one of the Pioneer spacecraft, I think.

But whichever it was, the effect was *tiny*. I did some calculations somewhere and worked out that it would take something like a month to accelerate by 60 km/h (imagine your car accelerating that fast!). An answer was proposed, and I think it related to variable rates of heating on the spacecraft as it spun. So, in other words, the effect was accountable within our current knowledge.

I think it's even less than that: the value is 8*10^-8 cm/sec^2. By my reckoning it would take over 32 years to slow down by one meter per second, and a meter per second is about 2 mph.

cyswxman
2003-Jul-16, 02:48 PM
I think it's impressive that both craft are still functioning!! =D>

AK
2003-Jul-16, 10:53 PM
I think it's impressive that both craft are still functioning!! =D>

Even moreso that they are expected to keep doing so until, what, 2020? 2030?