Out there: NASA says its Voyager 1 probe has become first spacecraft to leave the solar system | Star Tribune

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Thirty-six years after it rocketed away from Earth, the plutonium-powered spacecraft has escaped the sun's influence and is now cruising 11 1/2 billion miles away in interstellar space, or the vast, cold emptiness between the stars, NASA said Thursday.

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It will study exotic particles and other phenomena and will radio the data back to Earth, where the Voyager team awaits the starship's discoveries. But since there's no "Welcome to Interstellar Space" sign out there, NASA waited for more evidence before concluding that the probe had in fact broken out of the hot plasma bubble surrounding the planets.
And just in case it encounters intelligent life out there, it is carrying a gold-plated, 1970s-era phonograph record with multicultural greetings from Earth, photos and songs, including Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. 12, 2013 that Voyager 1 has become the first spacecraft to enter interstellar space, or the space between stars, more than three decades after launching from Earth. (AP Photo/NASA)
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Never before has a man-made object left the solar system as it is commonly understood.
Since there was no detectable change in the direction of the magnetic field lines, the team assumed the far-flung craft was still in the heliosphere, or the vast bubble of charged particles around the sun.. Meanwhile, Voyager 1 used Saturn as a gravitational slingshot to power itself past Pluto.
This artist rendering released by NASA shows NASA�s Voyager 1 spacecraft barreling through space. It takes about 17 hours for its signal to reach Earth.
An undated handout illustration of NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft passing through an area near the edge of the Solar System known as the magnetic highway. All rights reserved.
NASA celebrated by playing the "Star Trek" theme at a news conference in Washington.
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At the rate it is going, it would take 40,000 years to reach the nearest star, Alpha Centauri.
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But in the meantime, a chance solar eruption that shook Voyager I last spring provided the scientists with the data they needed, convincing them the boundary had been crossed in August of last year.
Last year, scientists monitoring Voyager 1 noticed strange happenings that suggested the spacecraft had broken through: Charged particles streaming from the sun suddenly vanished. Also, there was a spike in galactic cosmic rays bursting in from the outside.
While Voyager 1 may have left the solar system as most people understand it, it still has hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years to go before bidding adieu to the last icy bodies that make up our neighborhood.
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With the new data, "it took us 10 seconds to realize we were in interstellar space," said Don Gurnett, a Voyager scientist at the University of Iowa who led the new research, published online in the journal Science.
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LOS ANGELES — NASA's Voyager 1 probe has left the solar system, boldly going where no machine has gone before.
Photo: NASA, JPL-Caltech via New York Times
Voyager 1 actually made its exit more than a year ago, scientists said. 12, 2013, scientists declared that Voyager 1 had become the first manmade object to exit the solar system, a breathtaking achievement that NASA could only fantasize about back when it was launched in 1977.
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The Voyager team patiently waited for a change in magnetic field direction — thought to be the telltale sign of a cosmic border crossing.
Voyager 1's odyssey began in 1977 when the spacecraft and its twin, Voyager 2, were launched on a tour of the gas giant planets of the solar system.
"We made it," said an ecstatic Ed Stone, the mission's chief scientist, who waited decades for this moment.
Voyager 1, which is about the size of a small car, is drifting in a part of the universe littered with the remnants of ancient star explosions.
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Out there: NASA says its Voyager 1 probe has become first spacecraft to leave the solar system | Star Tribune
After beaming back dazzling postcard views of Jupiter's giant red spot and Saturn's shimmering rings, Voyager 2 hopscotched to Uranus and Neptune. On Sept. The space agency announced Thursday, Sept
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George Strait announces final dates of farewell tour - CBS News

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George Strait will finish off his two-year farewell tour in the biggest house in his home state of Texas -- the Dallas Cowboys' AT&T Stadium.
George Strait announces "The Cowboy Rides Away" 2012-2014 final tour on Sept. He announced he was retiring from the road last year but still plans to record, recently agreeing to a deal for five more studio albums..
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The country superstar held a rare news conference Monday at the stadium to announce the last leg of his The Cowboy Rides Away tour. Your e-mail address:
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All rights reserved. 9 and plans stops in Nashville, Los Angeles, Chicago and Foxborough, Mass., the first of two stadium shows to end the tour.

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"The first leg of the tour earlier this year was very fun, but also very emotional," Strait said at the press conference. I'm really looking forward to seeing our fans out on the road in 2014."
George Strait announces final dates of farewell tour - CBS News
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Strait will take a who's who of country music on the road, including Merle Haggard, Martina McBride, Miranda Lambert, Jason Aldean, Eric Church, Sheryl Crow, Little Big Town and Ronnie Dunn. "Every city and venue holds such great memories
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CU-Boulder reopening Monday; BVSD schools closed Monday and Tuesday - The Denver Post

Comments that include any offensive material are prohibited. "There are some long-term challenges facing students, families and employees which will take longer to resolve. It's quick (it takes about 30 seconds) and we only require your email and name. It is possible some courses will be canceled or rescheduled because of instructors' availability.
"We have a critical mass of faculty to hold classes," Hilliard said.
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Note: Our article pages automatically refresh every ten minutes. CU officials said it appears the worst of the weather has passed, but afternoon thunderstorms are still in the forecast for the next few days and they ask people on the campus to stay on alert for flash flood conditions and avoid creeks and flooded areas.

The provost's office has asked faculty members to be flexible with students immediately impacted by the flood.
"Deans of CU's colleges and schools reported to the provost that a majority of faculty members are available to hold classes Monday.
Koenig said the last couple of days have been stressful as her parents are stranded in Allenspark.
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King said his own home was unaffected and he was able to go to his part-time food service job in the dorms when the campus was closed last week.

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"We're not expecting anyone to take any heroic measures to get to campus," CU spokesman Bronson Hilliard said.
Students in the St. The inability for students and staff to travel between our communities presents some unique challenges. "But the fact is, we're still a disaster area."
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Although several CU buildings were damaged by the flooding, all classrooms and business service offices will be operational. Supervisors of campus employees are also being asked to be understanding of the serious impact the flooding has had on some employees.
BVSD students have been out of school since Thursday.
You must be registered to comment (your comment will be saved for you while you register). Vrain Valley School District will be out until at least Thursday.
Naropa University also canceled Monday classes, and a letter from the school's president, Chuck Lief, said the decision was made partly because about 50 classes were at risk of cancellation anyway given that several faculty members couldn't travel to Boulder. I will be meeting with district and school administration on Monday to address both the short and long term issues."
CU called off classes and shut the campus down beginning Thursday and canceled Saturday's football game against Fresno State. If you start writing your comment on this page, please refresh the page before you do so — this will reset the ten-minute counter.
An anonymous student circulated a petition saying it's unsafe for students, faculty and staff to commute to CU when it's in the middle of a national disaster area.
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Officials from the Boulder Valley School District will communicate with families Tuesday about what the plans are for the rest of the week. "There's so much devastation."
Students, though, slammed CU for a decision that some described as insensitive -- snarking that they'd need to hitch a ride with the National Guard because of the road closures near their homes or get tetanus shots because of a raw sewage spill reported Sunday afternoon on the East Campus.
Meanwhile, the Boulder Valley School District announced it will keep all of its schools closed Monday and Tuesday.
CU officials said students who have been displaced or otherwise affected should notify their professors and instructors. We cannot change this. By using our site you agree to our terms of use.
"We're going to show the maximum flexibility to our faculty, staff and students as they cope with the personal losses and challenges of the disaster," he said.
After days of historic flooding, University of Colorado officials announced the school will re-open Monday -- an unpopular decision with students who immediately began circulating a petition to keep the school closed and took to social media to criticize the move.
CU engineering student Jesse Frank said he e-mailed CU leaders asking that they reconsider opening Monday, saying it doesn't seem logistically safe or smart.
Monica Koenig, a CU graduate student who teaches a creative writing class, sent an email to her students saying that "nothing is worth compromising their safety." Her Monday class will be a relaxed day for students who, like her, are going stir crazy.
"Some of the short-term concerns with school district facilities are being addressed as quickly as possible by district personnel as well as outside restoration contractors," Superintendent Bruce Messinger said in a statement. Families were told that BVSD teachers will adjust assignment due dates and expectations for students given the number of days away from school.
How to file a claim with FEMA. But Chancellor Phil DiStefano announced Sunday afternoon that the school will re-open Monday with the cautionary note that students and employees don't take any "dangerous risks" to get to campus.
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Hilliard acknowledged the decision has not been a popular one, but said CU officials will work with anyone directly impacted by the flood.
She said CU's decision to re-open is "irresponsible."
CU-Boulder reopening Monday; BVSD schools closed Monday and Tuesday - The Denver Post
"I think the announcement was intended to be a rallying call that we're going to get through this and that we're trying to return to normal," King said. However, Naropa will open all three of its campuses in order to allow the community places to "gather, receive and offer support to one another."
Nate King, a CU senior studying advertising, said he disagreed with the university's decision to re-open.
"I'm lucky to not have been affected, but so many students have lost their houses, dogs are missing and more than 300 people are unaccounted for," Frank said. There are also many families and staff who have been evacuated to locations outside of BVSD
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