Mar 21, 2013

Voyager Is Such a Tease

So, yesterday my heart skipped a tiny beat. 

If you heard my story about the Voyager Interstellar Mission in our Escape! episode, you know I’ve been patiently waiting for the moment when one of the Voyager crafts says bye-bye to our solar system and gets its first taste of interstellar medium.

Is There An Edge to the Heavens?

So yesterday...when I opened my email, there was a message for me from our Senior Producer with the following subject line:

“Elvis (by which I mean voyager) has left the building.”

I’ll just go ahead and spoil it for you guys: FALSE ALARM.

Real quick, a recap of what happened: a press release by the AGU got a little bold with its language and set off a Twitter frenzy (at one point in the day, I left my desk for about an hour and came back to find FIVE THOUSAND THREE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY FIVE new tweets about Voyager waiting for me). The Atlantic got my vote for best headline of the day: "Chill Out, People: We Still Do Not Know If Voyager 1 Has Left the Solar System"

Here’s a screen cap of the adjusted AGU release. And Time has some nice day-after analysis.

Of course, I had to call Merav Opher, the scientist who gave us such great info about Voyager for our original story. She told me that, so far, the transition from our solar system to not-our-solar-system hasn’t been as clear-cut as she expected.

“It is like an opera,” she said. “They sing, I'm going! I'm going! Takes 20 minutes until they leave.”

Guess I’ll just have to keep waiting for the fat lady to sing. At least I know the entire internet is waiting with me.

P.S. If you, like me, want your Voyager news on a pretty-much-constant basis, you can track both V1 and V2 in real-time here.

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