WHOA. In case you’re too addicted to whatever iPhone game is hot right now to be keeping up with current events, let me spell it out for you:
A NASA SPACECRAFT
HAS LEFT THE SOLAR SYSTEM!!
“Since the launch of the Voyager spacecraft in 1977, Voyager 1 has traveled over 11.7 billion miles from the launchpad pictured here. That is equivalent to traveling to the moon and back almost 25,000 times.”
And Science Dailyhas got the gritty details:
“A coronal mass ejection, or a massive burst of solar wind and magnetic fields, that erupted from the sun in March 2012 provided scientists the data they needed. When this unexpected gift from the sun eventually arrived at Voyager 1’s location 13 months later, in April 2013, the plasma around the spacecraft began to vibrate like a violin string. On April 9, Voyager 1’s plasma wave instrument detected the movement. The pitch of the oscillations helped scientists determine the density of the plasma. The particular oscillations meant the spacecraft was bathed in plasma more than 40 times denser than what they had encountered in the outer layer of the heliosphere. Density of this sort is to be expected in interstellar space.”
This… is…. amazing. I love you, NASA.