Data from the more than 30 year old Voyager 2 space craft indicates that our solar system isn't round but is "dented" by the local interstellar magnetic field of deep space.
he data was gathered by the craft on its 30-year journey into the edge of the solar system when it crossed into a sweeping region called the termination shock, they said.
It showed that the southern hemisphere of the solar system's heliosphere is being pushed in or "dented."
Voyager 2 is the second spacecraft to enter this region of the solar system behind Voyager 1, which entered the northern region of the heliosheath in December 2004.
The termination shock is a turbulent area far beyond Pluto's orbit where the solar winds emanating from the sun are significantly slowed as they run up against the thin gas of interstellar space. Solar winds blow in all directions from our sun, and shape what was once thought to be a bubble around the solar system called the heliosphere.
"Voyager 2 entered the termination shock almost 1 billion miles closer within the southern hemisphere of the heliosphere of the solar system than Voyager 1 previously had," said Voyager Project scientist Edward Stone of the California Institute of Technology.
Scientists estimate the Voyager 2 will reach interstellar space within seven to ten years and believe the spacecraft has enough power to last until 2020.