QUESTION #690

# Currently,where are the Voyagers 1 and 2 space probes?

Asked by: Sara Irina Md. Rijaluddin

Both are well and truly outside the solar system. Voyager 1 has left the termination shock to enter the heliosphere, a region still influenced by the solar wind. It is about 12 light hours, or about 13 billion kilometres from Earth. Voyager 2 hasn't yet reached the termination shock, and is a 'mere' 11 billion kilometres from Earth. Here's a photo from NASA: http://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/images/Heliosphere3b.jpg
Answered by: Anita Hafner, B.S., final year astrophysics student, Monash University

According to NASA, here is the data for the two space probes on April 9 2004 : Distance from the Sun (Km)
Voyager 1 - 13,702,000,000
Voyager 2 - 10,925,000,000 Distance from the Sun (Mi)
Voyager 1- 8,514,000,000
Voyager 2 - 6,789,000,000 Distance from the Earth (Km)
Voyager 1 - 13,629,000,000
Voyager 2 - 10,924,000,000 Distance from the Earth (Mi)
Voyager 1 - 8,469,000,000
Voyager 2 - 6,787,00,000 Total Distance Traveled Since Launch (Km)
Voyager 1 - 15,566,000,000
Voyager 2 - 14,646,000,000 Total Distance Traveled Since Launch (Mi)
Voyager 1 - 9,672,000,000
Voyager 2 - 9,101,000,000 Velocity Relative to Sun (Km/sec)
Voyager 1 - 17.197
Voyager 2 - 15.658 Velocity Relative to Sun (Mi/hr)
Voyager 1 - 38,468
Voyager 2 - 35,025 Velocity Relative to Earth (Km/sec)
Voyager 1 - 20.935
Voyager 2 - 22.420 Velocity Relative to Earth (Mi/hr)
Voyager 1 - 46,829
Voyager 2 - 50,151 Round Trip Light Time (hh:mm:ss)
Voyager 1 - 25:14:34
Voyager 2 - 20:14:16 But where exactly are they? Both Voyagers are headed towards the outer boundary of the solar system in search of the heliopause, the region where the Sun's influence wanes and the beginning of interstellar space can be sensed. The heliopause has never been reached by any spacecraft; the Voyagers may be the first to pass through this region, which is thought to exist somewhere from 8 to 14 billion miles from the Sun. Sometime in the next 5 years, the two spacecraft should cross an area known as the termination shock. This is where the million-mile-per-hour solar winds slows to about 250,000 miles per hour'the first indication that the wind is nearing the heliopause. The Voyagers should cross the heliopause 10 to 20 years after reaching the termination shock. The Voyagers have enough electrical power and thruster fuel to operate at least until 2020.
Answered by: {Credits to NASA} Sam Cohen, Physics Student, LGS, Leeds, England