Editor's Summary

24 December 2009

Voyager 2 in the field


Voyager 2, now on the 'interstellar' leg of its mission, entered the heliosheath, the region just outside the Solar System beyond the solar wind termination shock, in August 2007. The strength and orientation of the magnetic fields here are important factors in determining the evolution of gas clouds in the Galaxy, and a new set of Voyager 2 data provides the first in situ measurements of the deflection of the subsonic solar wind plasma flows in the heliosheath. The field strength in the local interstellar medium is greater than previous estimates, at 3.7 to 5.5 microgauss. The field is tilted at 20–30° from the interstellar medium flow direction and is at an angle of about 30° from the Galactic plane.

LetterA strong, highly-tilted interstellar magnetic field near the Solar System

M. Opher, F. Alouani Bibi, G. Toth, J. D. Richardson, V. V. Izmodenov & T. I. Gombosi

doi:10.1038/nature08567