Join 3,438 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Voyager at 90 AU
November 5, 2003 12:04 PM   Subscribe

Far, far away. Today, Voyager 1 will reach 90 AU from the sun, around which distance it is expected to cross the "termination shock," finally crossing into the fuzzy boundary between the heliosphere and true interstellar space. (Yes, it's taken that long to get there.) Some even think that the termination shock has already been reached, but then re-expanded past the spacecraft. Tears need not be shed yet for these distant explorers: both Voyagers have juice till about 2020, and the mission remains very much alive. (No word, however, on a possible return to the Creator.)
posted by brownpau (25 comments total)

 
Aside: Adobe GoLive... in... spaaa-aace!
posted by brownpau at 12:08 PM on November 5, 2003


Kid Koala needs a copy of that gold record, man. Great link, brownpau!
posted by DenOfSizer at 12:14 PM on November 5, 2003


I meant "links," of course. The whole durn fpp is very nice.
posted by DenOfSizer at 12:15 PM on November 5, 2003


For people like me who don't know anything about "Termination Shock".
posted by anathema at 12:16 PM on November 5, 2003


Remember kids, one AU is 92,955,887.6 miles If your too lazy to do the math, the Voyager 1 is roughly 8366029884 miles away. There is no God after all!
posted by Keyser Soze at 12:22 PM on November 5, 2003


By the way, you can search the known universe with Celesta, the three dimensional space simulation. 3D Card recommended.
posted by Keyser Soze at 12:24 PM on November 5, 2003


"There is no God after all!"

Oh ye of little faith. There may be no old grey haired man on a throne in the clouds. We've known that for some time. Didn't need V-ger for that one. Oh. And Celesta rocks the hiz haus.
posted by ZachsMind at 12:32 PM on November 5, 2003


After we get past the moon, I start thinking in terms of light seconds because the miles are just too incomprehensibly many.
posted by brownpau at 12:32 PM on November 5, 2003


V'Ger REQUIRES the information!!!!!!!!
posted by WolfDaddy at 12:35 PM on November 5, 2003


90 Astronomical Units = 12.4751304 light hours. That's purdy far!
posted by riffola at 12:41 PM on November 5, 2003


really puts interstellar distances in perspective though... the closest stars being some light YEARS away, this probe we sent up has taken the better part of my lifetime to get only 0.5 light days away
posted by muppetboy at 12:49 PM on November 5, 2003


[this is *very* good]
posted by metaxa at 12:56 PM on November 5, 2003


Wait -- if "termination shock" means the point "at which the solar wind is thought to slow to subsonic speed" (from anathema's link), how slow is that exactly, given that there's no sound in space?
posted by nickmark at 1:06 PM on November 5, 2003


Very subtle and clever call-out, brownpau.
posted by yhbc at 1:36 PM on November 5, 2003


(Whatchootawkin'bout, yhbc?;)
Oh, oh, one more thing I forgot to include in the post:
Voyager 1's family portrait of the solar system. Whoa.
posted by brownpau at 1:42 PM on November 5, 2003


this probe we sent up has taken the better part of my lifetime to get only 0.5 light days away

Amazing. Completely mind boggling.
posted by anathema at 1:53 PM on November 5, 2003


Nickmark: this site on how to replicate the heliosphere in your kitchen sink might help.
posted by Johnny Assay at 1:58 PM on November 5, 2003


put into perspective:

- if the galaxy was 100 KM wide

-within 20 meters in any direction sun would be approximately 20 other stars

- the nearest star would be 3-4 meters away

the probe would be 1.5 mm away.
posted by BentPenguin at 2:32 PM on November 5, 2003


roughly 8366029884 miles away. There is no God after all!
Don't recall "8 turned side ways" equaling 8366029884 miles. Plus it is still making its journey, go! go! Voyager 1.
posted by thomcatspike at 2:33 PM on November 5, 2003


Johnny -- I was being flip, but that's actually very interesting, thanks. I think I'm gonna go turn on the tap and make a solar system!
posted by nickmark at 3:01 PM on November 5, 2003


Bentpenguin -- Are you CKW over on slashdot, or did you just copy his/her post?
posted by crawl at 4:02 PM on November 5, 2003


Return to the creator? Pah! Everybody knows that was Voyager 6. You know, NASA had better pull their finger out and build a few more, or we're gonna have one seriously messed-up space-time continuum pretty soon...

(No, not a Trekker, honest. No, really.)
posted by kaemaril at 4:52 PM on November 5, 2003


[this is good excellent]

the probe would be 1.5 mm away.
My head hurts just thinking about this.
posted by dg at 10:03 PM on November 5, 2003


What a pity the word "awesome" has been so overly used in recent times, for here are some things worthy of the word. The distance Voyager has traveled and the achievement of getting it there, and the relative closeness compared to interstellar distance. And yes, the post. AWESOME.
posted by Goofyy at 10:57 PM on November 5, 2003


[this is tasty!]

Thanks for a well-constructed and interesting fpp!
posted by Fezboy! at 6:48 AM on November 6, 2003


« Older "I killed so many women I have a hard time keeping...  |  Conspiracy theories are my fri... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments