To the Solar System, and beyond!
According to a recent announcement from NASA, the spacecraft Voyager 2 has left our Solar System. Since 1977, Voyager 2 has been sending back valuable information about the planets in our neighborhood. Now, the spacecraft will continue onward studying particles that are flying through this interstellar space.
Depending on how you define “solar system,” some may say that Voyager 2 has not technically left because it has not reached the Oort Cloud, which is defined as the last true part of our solar system.
But one thing's for sure –the Voyager 2 has passed across the heliopause, or the point to which the Sun influences our solar system environment.
As the name may suggest, Voyager 2 is not the first spacecraft to reach this great distance. Voyager 1 passed through the heliopause in 2012.
But while Voyager 2 is not the first to cross the boundary, it was (and will be) a first in other ways! Voyager 2 is the only mission to flyby and visit all four outer planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune). It also discovered multiple moons and shed light on planetary features such as Neptune’s Great Dark Spot and the ring features...of every outer planet!
Interested in learning more? We're covering this topic all weekend in our all-live planetarium show, "Wonders of the Night Sky." Catch it in the Jennifer Chalsty Planetarium, the biggest planetarium in the Western Hemisphere. Click here to get showtimes and see a full list of shows currently playing.