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NASA's Voyager 1 hits a 'magnetic highway' out of the solar system

Scientists at NASA say the unmanned Voyager 1 spacecraft has reached the edges of the solar system. They estimate in a few months to a year Voyager 1 will become the first manmade object to leave the solar system and enter interstellar space.

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This artist rendering provided by NASA shows Voyager 1 at the edge of the solar system. NASA said Monday, that the long-running spacecraft has entered a new region at the fringes of the solar system thought to be the last layer before the beginning of interstellar space, or the space between stars.

NASA/AP

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NASA's long-lived Voyager 1 spacecraft, which is heading out of the solar system, has reached a "magnetic highway" leading to interstellar space, scientists said on Monday.

The probe, launched 35 years ago to study the outer planets, is now about 11 billion miles from Earth. At that distance, it takes radio signals traveling at the speed of light 17 hours to reach Earth. Light moves at 186,000 miles per second.

Voyager 1 will be the first manmade object to leave the solar system.

Scientists believe Voyager 1 is in an area where the magnetic field lines from the sun are connecting with magnetic field lines from interstellar space. The phenomenon is causing highly energetic particles from distant supernova explosions and other cosmic events to zoom inside the solar system, while less-energetic solar particles exit.

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