Voyager News

13 Dec 2018

Robert sent in the links ... and ... and .... Voyager 2 is now officially outside the Earth's magnetic bubble and within interstellar space - although it has yet to pass through the Oort Cloud. It was announced at the American Geophysical Union conference on December 9th (2018). Voyager 1 crossed the same boundary in 2012 but Voyager 2 carries instruments that are still partly functional. It will be able to sense interstellar plasma. At some time it will come into contact with another star's magnetosphere - or whatever plasma might be doing out there in space. Also, we shall soon find out if there is a cosmic ray bombardment from supernovae explosions (see also 11 th December 2018) ...


Meanwhile, the Gemenid meteor shower is underway (an annual shower with an origin in Phaethon), an asteroid or defunct comet. At the link, 11th December, you can watch a short video of a  Gemenid meteor (in the foreground) seem to pass in front of Comet Wirtanen (in the background).

At ... the asteroid Ceres appears to have a carbon rich surface - rich in organic matter. Data from NASAs DAWN spacecraft has been analysed in a paper in Nature Astronomy (December 2018). These compounds are mixed up with clays with an origin in water. Ceres poses a question on the evolution of and distribution of organic species in the solar system.

At ... the OSIRIS REx spacecraft is well on its way to the asteroid Bennu. It has just confirmed Bennu has water - or more precisely, molecules that combine oxygen with hydrogen (hydroxyls) ...

   ... the mission is currently performing a preliminary survey of Bennu, flying the spacecaft in posses over the asteroid's poles and equator (as close as 7km away). It has closely recorded a surface mostly littered with rocks , or regolith.