Voyager Probs first unknown phenomenon in deep space

Artistic concept of voyager spacecraft.

Artistic concept of voyager spacecraft.
The image: NASA / JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Voyager spacecraft may have billions of miles and more than 40 years, but they are still building New research suggests that significant discoveries.

A letter published today Astronomical Journal Describes a completely new form of electron burst, a discovery probably made possible by the intrepid voyager probe. These bursts are occurring in the interstellar medium, a region of space in which the density of matter is progressively thinner. aThe new paper suggests, cosmic rays are getting some funky for electrons that are making their way through this remote region: TThe shock waves created by Surya are being carried forward, reflecting and accelerating them to great speed.

By itself, this process, in which shock waves push particles, is nothing new. What is new, however, is that these bursts of electrons are visible in the advancing shock wave, and are occurring in a quiet region of space. The new paper was co-authored by University of Iowa astrophysicist Don Gernat.

Launched in 1977, Vyjar 1 and Vyjar 2 launched Scary Work for the king and the country, and They are still able Meaningful scientific work after so many years. But instead of studying active volcanoes on Jupiter’s Moon Io, or spectacular photos of Saturn’s rings, these probes are now studying unchanged water beyond the heliopause – warmer solar plasma and cooler coolers at the outer end of the solar system The area between the interleader medium.

Sailor 1 is currently 14.1 billion miles away, Voyager 2 is 11.7 billion miles away (probes were launched within 16 days of each other, but they were sent through the solar system on different trajectories during their soot). Mallah 1 crossed the Heliopause border in 2012, And voyager 2 did the same In 2018. TCurrently he is passing through a region According to the study, is known as the very local interstellar medium (VLISM). Vyzar probes are man-made farthest objects.

Some words can be understood to mean “interstellar medium”“And claims that the Vyzer probe is still technically within the solar system, but Gurnett is adamant that the Vyzer probe is actually passing through interstellar space, which literally means” medium between stars, “As he explained. Phone. “We won that argument,” Gurnett said, “but of course I’m biased.” The gas pressure at the location of the Voiger probe, he said, is equal to the gas pressure we would expect to see in interstellar space. For him, this means that the probe is inside the interstellar medium.

In 2012, Gurnet launched on his colleagues Declared Voyager 1 interstellar space, exceeded in one claim confirmation of By NASA Next year.

Years ago, before NASA entered this field of space in the probe, “we thought it might be absolutely boring, and that nothing changes there,” Gurnett said. “But what we found is that it is not at all quiet and silent – important things are going on in the inter-state medium!“

As previous research has shown, stellar shock waves are traveling in this region of space, which is the result of the ejection of coronal mass on the Sun. These highly energetic events carry hot gas and energy into space, causing injury to them. Heliopause and interstellar medium at tremendous speed. Even travel 1 At million miles per hour, however, these shock waves take more than a year to reach heliopause and another half a year to reach the voyager probe. To get an idea of ​​how many possibilities there are so far, it takes about 20 hours for a voyager transmission – traveling at the speed of light – to reach Earth.

As the new paper states, These shock waves are facilitating previously unseen behavior in the interstellar medium, that is, the electron bursts appear far ahead of the advance shock waves.

Herbert Funsten, a space scientist at Los Almas National Laboratory, said, “This study is unique in the way that it sees many large solar storms that punch through the bubbles that the sun goes out through the interstellar medium and much from Pluto Spreads far ”the new study, explained in an email. “The Voyager spacecraft are in the interstellar medium and therefore appearing in bubbles – and shocks that cross the border of the bubble from the outside – provide a unique, quiet observation space that we cannot see from inside the bubble.”

The Weezer probe found these springs of energy with onboard devices designed to detect cosmic rays (NASA was thinking ahead, and that’s exactly what the probe was designed to do).

In terms of what is happening, electrons in VLISM are being switched off and redirected by magnetic field lines into the interstellar plasma, or ionized gas.

“The magnetic field lines in the interstellar medium are almost perfectly straight lines,” Gurnett explained. “We detected electron bursts when the shock waves first touched the magnetic field lines moving through the wager spacecraft – and this is the mechanism. The shock wave just touches the magnetic field line, and there is a jump on the shock, which reflects and activates some of the cosmic ray electrons. ”

Indeed, this interaction appears to accelerate the electrons, pushing them further from the advancing shock wave. The authors of the study refer to this phenomenon as “interstellar foreox”. As a result, the russed-up electrons move about 670 times faster than the shock waves that originally pushed them toward Heliopause, which means they are being accelerated to the nearest Relative speed. Gurnett compared the incident to a game of pingpong, in which the ball is an electron, and the shock paddle in a magnetic field.

Interestingly, the probe itself also detected shock waves, which appeared between 13 and 30 days after electron spikes.

“This corresponds to seeing the reflected light from a distant eruption cloud, and then later hearing the boom,” Funsten. “The time it takes to see and hear the cloud provides important information about the properties of the interstellar medium and the punch-through of the shock wave in the interstellar medium.”

Astronomers have described the shock Waves pushing electrons first, but those interactions were in place of the shock wave. Here, the explosion of electrons causes a shock, which is not visible Earlier, Gurnet said.

“It’s a brand –The new system-shock accelerates the electrons, ”he said. “But the flick has not yet reached the spacecraft, so it is a precursor, which we are calling Foreshock.”

Funsten said that while these incidents are rare, they are providing “tantalizing clues” about the effects of these tremors on the interstellar medium. However, “more data will be needed to better understand these results,” he said, including more data from Voiger 2, which “has not been in the interstellar medium for a long time,” as well as NASA’s upcoming IMAP mission ( Interstellar tapping and acceleration probes), which are scheduled to launch in 2024.

The new paper can improve our understanding of the complex interactions between shock waves and cosmic radiation, not on the outskirts of our neighborhood But including other stars as well as exploding stars. These findings may shed new light on what astronauts should expect while working in space.

A note for the Weezer investigation: Keep doing what you’re doing. YYou are awesome


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