In some interesting astronomy news, the spacecraft Voyager 2 has passed through our solar system’s heliosphere (a protective bubble around our solar system created by our sun). This puts Voyager 2 into interstellar space. Readings from the spacecraft show, again, that there is a distinct boundary between our “normal solar system with our planets,” and the beginnings of open space. For years, many believed that at the edge of our solar system, solar winds just diminished and real space gradually began.
Launched in 1977, Voyager 2 has traveled some 11 billion miles. It will continue traveling into outer space for many more years, hopefully, and still communicate with us.
Up next for Voyager 2 is the Oort Cloud. The Oort Cloud is an extended shell of solar system containing frozen particles, rocks and so on; Voyager 2 is now entering that shell. Many scientists maintain that the Oort Cloud is part of our solar system, which is, in itself, immense. Traveling at a speed of roughly 30,000 mph, it will take Voyager 2 30,000 years to get beyond it.
Amazingly, after that, Voyager 2 won’t even be half way to our nearest stellar neighbor, Alpha Centauri.
In short: it’s a big place out there!