Voyager 2’s Notes from Interstellar Space | SciShow News

Voyager 2’s Notes from Interstellar Space | SciShow News

[♪ INTRO] Sending a spacecraft to explore far-off places
in the solar system is cool. But you know what’s even cooler? Sending spacecraft to explore outside the
solar system. It’s new terrain for human-made objects,
and we’ve only done it twice. But in a series of papers published this week
in the journal Nature Astronomy, scientists shared the first results from Voyager 2, the second spacecraft to break out of the
solar system, so we’re starting to learn more about what’s out there. In 1977, NASA launched the twin Voyager spacecrafts
on a daring mission to explore the outer solar system. Both flew by Jupiter and Saturn a few years later, but then, as Voyager 2 headed for Uranus and Neptune, Voyager 1 veered away from the planets and
toward interstellar space. Back in 2012, it became the first artificial
object to cross the heliopause. That’s the boundary where the Sun’s solar
wind plows into the gas and dust of interstellar space. It’s on the order of hundreds of thousands
of kilometers thick, and it’s one way astronomers define the edge of the solar system. Voyager 1 made all sorts of measurements about
what that boundary area was like, but it was hard for scientists to figure out how much those measurements said about the entire heliopause as opposed to that one spot
where it crossed. That’s what made it such a big deal when
NASA announced last November that Voyager 2 had also reached the heliopause. Now, a year later, researchers have started
to compare what the two Voyagers saw. Voyager 2 has been able to collect even more
data than its sibling because its instruments are in better condition. The new data tells us that both missions crossed
the heliopause at about the same distance: just over 18 billion kilometers for Voyager
1 and just under that for Voyager 2. That’s an important datapoint because scientists
debate how spherical the heliosphere, or area of the Sun’s influence, is. At least at these two locations, it seems
pretty symmetric. But, Voyager 2 found the boundary layer at
the heliopause to be much thinner. That might be because the Sun’s activity
is currently near a minimum, compared to the solar maximum that happened around the time Voyager 1 flew through. So maybe there was less of a buffer between
the solar system and interstellar space when the second probe passed through. Or maybe it suggests something more fundamental
about the structure of the heliosphere. After all, the two probes did spot some differences
that aren’t easily explained by the Sun’s activity. Like, Voyager 1 found patches where plasma
from interstellar space was leaking through, something Voyager 2 didn’t see at all. It turns out two data points is a heck of
a lot better than one, but also still not that many. To really understand what’s going on, we are going to need more spacecraft to study different locations. But that’s a 40-year journey, so I wouldn’t
hold your breath just yet. In the meantime, let’s look out past Voyager
to a record-setting black hole. The most common black holes astronomers find are usually five to fifteen times more massive than the Sun, while so-called supermassive ones can be literally billions of times more massive than that. But those aren’t the only black holes out
there. Physics suggests that stellar-mass black holes
can be as little as half the size we’re used to seeing. The only problem is these little ones can
be tricky to observe. They’re just tiny little black holes. They’re black holes! It’s hard to see them! Small black holes pull in less material than
bigger ones and, if they’re not feasting on anything, black holes emit basically nothing. Hence the whole “black” part. But a paper published last week in the journal
Science suggests a new way to find these little runts. And, as is often the case with black holes, scientists went looking for their effect on stuff around them. See, many stars in the galaxy are binary,
meaning they’re paired with another object and orbit a shared center of mass. If their orbit is aligned just right, we can
see these stars move toward and away from the Earth as they circle that center of mass. That forward and backward motion causes their
light to alternate between a little-too-red and a little-too-blue as their light waves
get stretched and compressed. If they know the mass of the big star and
the time it takes to orbit, astronomers can work out how much the second object must weigh. Then, it’s time to pull out the telescope. If the second object should weigh as much
as a star but there’s no star in sight, there’s a good chance it’s a black hole. Astronomers in this recent study went through
an archive of old observations, looking for giant stars that seemed to be changing color
in this predictable pattern. Then they narrowed down the search to stars
that seemed to be orbiting invisible companions, and they discovered what may be the smallest
known black hole. It most likely weighs just 3.3 times the mass
of the Sun and it could be as little
as 2.6 times the mass of the Sun. If so, that would put it just a hair over
the theoretical limit of around 2.5. Basically it’s just a little baby black
hole. It is more massive than our entire solar system, but still. Even better, the method scientists used to
make this discovery gives us a whole new way to look for tiny black holes in our galaxy! Now, when I said record-setting black hole,
you probably didn’t think I meant the “tiniest-ever.” And I’m sure I’ll be back soon with more
of the biggest, baddest stuff in the universe. But for now it’s good to give a win to the
little guys. Thanks for watching this episode of SciShow
Space, produced by us here at Complexly. We produce over a dozen shows,
including Ours Poetica, which is a co-production between Complexly, The Poetry Foundation, and poet Paige Lewis. Ours Poetica brings you a new poem three times
per week, read by poets and writers and artists, and sometimes unexpected, yet familiar, voices,
like my own. I got to do one for Halloween, and so of course
I chose The Raven by Edgar Alan Poe . It’s really fun to read and it sounds like
it’s a creepy poem but actually it’s just about how grief is inescapable. So, really just bring you up there. There’s a link in the description. [♪ OUTRO]

100 thoughts on “Voyager 2’s Notes from Interstellar Space | SciShow News

  1. 3:46 I said runt ~Brian Griffin

    Also 5:12 The BH is 2.6 times the mass of the sun, did they determine how big it actually is?

  2. Does New Horizons have any instruments that will tell us anything and will it still be working when it reaches the heliopause?

  3. You mention how massive this small black hole is, but what kind of size would it have? Are we talking 10s, 100s, or 1000s of kilometers?

  4. Honestly the idea of tiny black holes scares me more than the big ones cuz the big ones are pretty much stationary and are easy to see relatively

    As shown these tiny ones are almost impossible to spot and since they're so light they could easily be flung about by other bodies in the cosmos and I can easily see like a handful of them just getting bounced around like ping pong balls inevitably finding our solar system

  5. Well, the thing about a black hole – its main distinguishing feature – is it's black. And the thing about space, the colour of space, your basic space colour, is black. So how are you supposed to see them?

  6. Astronomy in Hawaii is at risk. Please show your support for the benefits of astronomy on Maunakea. This earth belongs to all of us but some Hawaiians think their voice matters more then other Hawaiians, and other people. If we loose Keck, Subaru, Gemini along with 9 other scopes you can kiss the most productive summit for astronomy goodbye. Please support TMT, please support astronomy in Hawaii. Imua TMT. Maunakea no ka ‘oi.

  7. Isn't it amazing that these – compared to what we can build today – "primitive" probes can still be telling us the most amazing stuff! Today's probes are amazing in themselves, but they'll never have as many people globally who actually care about them the way the Voyagers are.

  8. Me: reads description

    Hank: "Voyager 2 is the second object to leave our solar system, which means we now have twice as much information about its edges!"

    Me: 😀

    Hank: "And scientists have found a record-breaking black hole."

    Me: 89yB99bO;b8loYLObhLOHVag igbILYtitOOn;pnupupUB';PY;ivyp;6OVF6

  9. Sorry but Voyager 2 is the 4th satellite to intentionally leave the solar system. Pioneer 10 & 11 did it before Voyager 1 & 2. New Horizons will be the next one.

  10. 1:51 No AU equivalent? Now I've gotta pause the video and do math. Thanks.
    EDIT: For those who'd like to know, that's about 120 AU

  11. I didn't know what I was expecting from the record setting black hole. I guess there were 2 options although I couldn't think of either of them till I knew the one in the video (kinda like how the tiny black hole's existence was implied by the behavior of the star orbiting it). The other option would be a black hole so massive that it is as big as a galaxy, and then there are a set of galaxies orbiting that black hole; but they're so far away that we thought they were all stars before. Now that's a terrifying thought.

  12. The problem with wormholes is people imagine one big Portal reaching over light-years . But a series of Trillions of Trillions of microscopic wormholes opening and closing and combining infront you as your ship is already moving at high speed and with an electrometic current around it open and fusing the mircoscipic wormholesb even more

  13. I've often wondered, and I know this might sound silly, if gravity isn't like surface pressure but for space. So anywhere there is solid matter, it makes it difficult for space to push through it and instead you get the force of gravity butting up against solid matter. We're too small to feel this affect the same way the earth does. This might explain why denser, but smaller objects seem to have higher gravity than larger less dense objects.

  14. Please, stop saying that Voyager had left the Solar System. It hasn't even reached the Oort Cloud, which is still centuries away. And it is still a part of our System.

  15. Something to keep in mind is that a 2.5 stellar mass black hole would have an event horizon comparable in size to a terrestrial planet body. So yeah, tiny.

    Edit: like, a small asteroid. Or the width of a town in Flyover Country.

  16. I saw that little to red and a little to blue shift affect around the letters. Impressive. (that comment is for you mr/mrs editor)

  17. I’m confused on what Hank said when he said weight and mass of the blackhole shouldn’t it just be mass and one value.

  18. I wonder if it's worth launching more satellites to study the boundary of the solar system. With how quickly our capabilities in space are growing, in 40 years we may know way more than a probe could teach us (so it may not be an effective use of funds).

  19. So the little guys are still larger then our solar system. Space just boggles the mind and I love it and want to learn more of it!

  20. Hank, How much time take the solar.wind reach de heliopause?, I assume that because of the speed of solar wind, it could be expelled when the Sun was in a solar maximum. I don't know but I'm sure we must account for it.

  21. FYI:
    When Hank mentions the theoretical limit of black holes being ~2.5 solar masses (@5:04), this is only for black holes that are stellar remnants (i.e. they're the dead core of a star that went supernova).
    It's theoretically possible for black holes to have formed without a star — they're called "primordial black holes", and if they exist they would have been created during the early universe when stuff was still relatively close together. PBHs could have formed with as little mass as one of your eyelashes. Not only would it be horrendously difficult to detect something so small out in the vastness of space, but those would have finished evaporating billions of years ago (and anything else less than 1ish trillion kg wouldn't have survived until now, either. Lucky for us, telescopes are time machines…)

    If anyone remembers that month-old news story about Planet 9 being a black hole (, we talked about PBHs, briefly.

  22. Somebody Explain: The interstellar plasma detected is 52,000 degrees but it's so thin that the craft stays cold. How does the detecting sensor or parts of the craft not 'melt'?

  23. With Stephen Hawking's laser, we can possibly send many tiny satellites at 0.2 c. Hopefully we can some projects can use that in the future

  24. 3:26 the same problem was observed on Red Dwarf:
    Watch the episode to get the gag at the end when Holly again tries to explain the colour of black holes. ⭐️

  25. lets toss more things into interstellar space technology has improved immeasurably since the 70's lets see hat e can find out when something modern is there

  26. I remember not liking the SciShow when it was first around, did the guy start talking faster? or did the videos become more informative? It felt like the buzzfeed of science channels in the past, I now rank it close too space time.

  27. Wait, so do those nano-black holes we create here on Earth and which dissipate within fractions of a second of being created not count?

  28. For those of you who don't play pool, one set of possible rules has you calling the shot your trying to make. A casual version of this forgoes the formality of calling obvious shots. A guy I played with in college always used to claim that his fantastic shots were what he intended. I always wondered what happened to him. I guess he worked for Nasa. (0:39) "I meant to bank it off Saturn!"

  29. This week there was also an observation of a supermassive black hole thats about 25 BILLION solar masses. You could divvy up that large black hole into equal parts for every human on earth and each part would still be bigger than the "small" black hole mentioned in this video. Oh and that small black hole is more than twice as massive as everything in our solar system put together.

  30. The Voyager probes, as well as being two of the most successful ever, and 2 of some of the longest lasting spacecraft ever, will almost certainly outlast the species that built them and the records they carry will be messages from an extinct civilization. Certainly if alien beings, if they exist,
    And are technologically advanced enough to do so, ever find them, our species will be long, long gone.

  31. There is an even smaller primordial black hole, right here, in our back yard, just wait till the moment Elon sends out probes to study it…

    …and homo-sapiens+ goes next level!

  32. It would've really help to get the scope of the size if you gave us the diameter. As I understand the volume has nothing to do with size.

  33. The boundaries of the solar system are much better defibed by the sun's gravitational dominance rather than the heliopause. Disappointed but not surprised sci show would make this mistake. The voyagers "leaving the solar system" is pop sci clickbait nonsense.

  34. This video is satanic propaganda. Space travel is not possible. The Earth is covered with a dome.

    Look up Operation Fishbowl, 1962. The government tried to nuke it. They were not successful.

  35. Mass is not weight. Mass = amount of matter. Weight is mass under gravity of 1g. You're a science show, I can't believe you said that.

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