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Globe Spotlights Prof’s Cosmic Prediction

Astrophysicist calculating Voyager’s arrival at the next universe

From The Boston Globe
Merav Opher

Merav Opher, a College of Arts & Sciences assistant professor of astronomy, has been gaining worldwide media attention for her scientific theories concerning the very edge of the known solar system. Last week, the Boston Globe spotlighted her calculations for when the Voyager I spacecraft would journey beyond the reach of the sun and into the next universe.

Boston Globe

Opher’s scientific task: to predict when the two Voyager spacecraft, launched 34 years ago to fly by the outer planets, will become the first man-made objects to pass out of the cocoon of our solar system, giving scientists their first taste of the space between the stars.

It is not a trivial calculation. There is no cosmic GPS, no familiar landmark to flag the boundary that divides the bubble that surrounds our sun and the interstellar medium: the vast, empty-looking realm that is actually filled with gas and dust, the remnants of exploded stars. The spacecraft - Voyager 2 passed the last planet, Neptune, 22 years ago - are at a previously unexplored horizon that is in constant flux because of the cycles of activity on the sun.

“We all know it’s very close” Opher said. “In terms of a couple years, or next year, or five years from now, or any month, or we just crossed already - it’s this uncertain.” Read more...

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On 29 September 2011 at 9:54 AM, winky (GSM'72) wrote:

Next universe??!! Do you know the definition of 'universe'? That thing isn't even going to escape our GALAXY let alone THE UNIVERSE!

On 29 September 2011 at 9:45 AM, Matthew (MED/BUSM'15) wrote:

Next universe or next solar system? That's a big difference....as in we don't know if there are other universes.

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