Because our telescopes rarely scan very close to the Sun, we didn't actually discover it until it had crossed to the other side of Earth's orbit, when it was already on its way out of the Solar System. Read More.
Since solar plasma carries the magnetic field lines emanating from the sun and interstellar plasma carries interstellar magnetic field lines, the directions of the solar and interstellar magnetic fields were expected to differ. Plasma is the most important marker that distinguishes whether Voyager 1 is inside the solar bubble, known as the heliosphere, which is inflated by plasma that streams outward from our sun, or in interstellar space and surrounded by material ejected by the explosion of nearby giant stars millions of years ago.
And the asteroid belt was much richer than it is today, full of rocky bodies that have long since been gravitationally ejected into interstellar space.The Origin of 'Oumuamua, Our First Interstellar Visitor - Space Time
The Interstellar Boundary Explorer IBEX mission science objective is to discover the nature of the interactions between the solar wind and the interstellar medium at the edge of our solar system.
It's extraordinarily likely that many of these objects pass through our Solar System on an annual basis, but we've never detected them before.
In interstellar space, these particles would be expected to hit Voyager uniformly from all directions. Kat Volk , a planetary scientist at the University of Arizona who studies the outer solar system, says seeing the actual Oort Cloud isn't possible with most modern instruments because it's mostly comets and other icy objects too small and dim and distant to spot.
I have won numerous awards for science writing since 2008 for my blog, Starts With A Bang , including the award for best science blog by the Institute o... The hit film Interstellar 2014 , starring Matthew McConaughey, brought the concept of Interstellar space to the attention of the public.
We found it when it was at nearly its closest point to our world, at a distance of just 23 million km: Beyond Neptune, things get progressively less reliable. Hiding in Hubble Data: Voyager 1 will continue sending engineering data for a few more years after the last science instrument is turned off, but after that it will be sailing on as a silent ambassador.
The team has known it might take months, or longer, to understand the data fully and draw their conclusions. The origin of the so-called IBEX ribbon was unknown — but its very existence opened doors to observing what lies outside our solar system, the way drops of rain on a window tell you more about the weather outside.
Voyager 1's plasma wave instrument picked up local plasma oscillations. Basically, the team needed more data on plasma, which is ionized gas, the densest and slowest moving of charged particles in space. For the first time, we've actually seen one for ourselves.
Saturn's Rings Are Really Young. They may be in interstellar space, but leaving one's home solar system behind is a harder task than you might think. They have eccentricities very slightly greater than 1, with values like 1.
The discovery of 'Oumuamua was made in exactly that fashion, by tracking its motion relative to the background of fixed stars. We've found objects in all four classes, with the hyperbolic objects corresponding to comets that were gravitationally kicked in such a way that they'll exit the Solar System. None of the handful of models the Voyager team uses as blueprints have accounted for the observations about the transition between our heliosphere and the interstellar medium in detail.
Neptune, the most distant known planet, is 30 AU out.