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In the void of space, Voyager 1 discovers a plasma 'hum'

In the void of space, Voyager 1 discovers a plasma ‘hum’

Krediet: Pixabay / CC0 Public Domain

Voyager 1 – one of NASA’s sister spacecraft that launched 44 years ago and is now the farthest human-made object in space – is still running and heading towards infinity.

Spacecraft long ago crossed the edge of the solar system through the heliosphere – the boundary of the solar system with an interstellar star The spaceIn the middle between the stars. Now the devices have revealed the presence of an interstellar gas-powered drone (Plasma waves), According to research from Cornell University and published in Natural Astronomy.

By examining slowly transmitted data from a distance of more than 14 billion miles, Stella Koch Aker, a PhD student at Cornell University in Astronomy, has revealed a resurgence. “It’s very weak and monotonous because it has a narrow bandwidth,” Oker said. “We follow a faint, continuous hum of interstellar gas.”

This work allows scientists to understand how the interstellar medium interacts with it Solar windHow come the protection bubble Solar SystemThe heliosphere forms and adapts to the interstellar environment.

The Voyager 1 spacecraft was launched in September 1977 and flew near Jupiter in 1979 and Saturn in the late 1980s. Voyager 1 was traveling at nearly 38,000 miles per hour and through the Sun’s atmosphere in August 2012.

After entering interstellar space, the spacecraft’s plasma wave system detects turbulence in the gas. But between those eruptions – caused by our stormy sun – researchers have discovered a steady, continuous signature created by the fragile void near space.

“from Central Interstellair Lead author James Cordes, professor of astronomy at George Feldstein, said the weather was like a calm or gentle rain. “In the event of a solar fire, it is like spotting a lightning bolt during a thunderstorm and then returning to a light rain.”

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Oker believes there is more low-level activity in the interstellar gas than scientists previously thought, allowing researchers to track the spatial distribution of the plasma – that is, when it is unaffected. Solar powered flashlights.


Researcher Shami Chatterjee of Cornell University demonstrated how to monitor severity continuously Interstellar space It is important. “We never had the opportunity to evaluate that. We now know that we don’t need an accidental sun-bound event to measure interstellar plasma,” Chatterjee said. “Whatever the sun does, Voyager sends the details back.” The ship says, “This is the intensity at which I swim now. And here it is. There it is now. And it is now. Voyager is very far and always will be.”

Voyager 1 left the Earth with a gold disc created by a committee headed by the late Professor Carl Sagan at Cornell University, as well as technology in the mid-1970s. According to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 22 watts were needed to send a signal to Earth. The car has nearly 70 kilobytes of computer memory – and at the start of the mission – a data rate of 21 kilobits per second.

Over a distance of 14 billion miles, the connection speed has since decreased to 160 bps, or about half the rate of 300 baud.

NASA Voyager 2 may be close to interstellar space

more information:

Continuous plasma waves in interstellar space discovered by Voyager 1, Natural Astronomy (2021). DOI: 10.1038 / s41550-021-01363-7

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Cornell University