The Voyager 2 mission released its first scientific measurements of interstellar space, according to newly published research.
Voyager 2 went through the heliopause last November, joining Voyager 1 as a single objects made by the man who left the heliosphere, the region surrounded by the sun that is influenced by the solar wind. Fortunately, Voyager 2 the instruments worked pretty well to measure the particles and magnetic fields present in this far-off region. Although his the transition shares similarities with Voyager 1these first results revealed a previously unobserved interaction zone between the particles of space and the particles of the Sun.
The Voyager probes launched in 1977, each equipped with an identical suite of instruments to explore the external solar system. After more than 40 years years, both work well enough to measure the cosmic rays of the Sun as well as interstellar space; proximity properties charged particles; the local magnetic field; and, in the case of Voyager 2, the energy of the local plasma. (Traveling 1 PLasma measuring instrument ceased operation in 1980.) All this data can offer scientists an insight into the nature of themiddle storey.
The broken plasma instrument of Voyager 1 made it difficult for scientists to directly measure if and when the probe had went through the heliopause in august 2012, as they could not see the expected transition from the hot plasma of the Sun to the colder and denser plasma of the interstellar medium. In the end, measurements of the behavior of local electrons and magnetic fields confirmed that he had crossed the border.
Voyager 2 crossed last year with a functional plasma instrument, confirming past measurements and providing a first direct view of the transition, including a-to fold Increased plasma density, according to one of the articles published today in Nature Astronomy. The density is similar to the plasma densities deduced by Voyager 1 scientists, with small differences. probably because of their location differences.
TThe heliopause crossings of the two probes took place at similar distances from the Sun: for Voyager 1, it was at 121.6 astronomical units, and for Voyager 2 he was 119 astronomical units (one AU equals the average distance from the Earth to the Sun). That plasma densities have changed at a similar distance, even though the probes are more than 150 astronomical units apart, told the scientists that the heliopause does not change much between these two radically different parts of the sky, physicist of the plasma Bill Kurth told Gizmodo. Kurth is one of the authors of the study and a scientist of the Voyager missions.
But many things differed between the probes. Voyager 2 discovered a continuous change in the direction of magnetic fields as he passed through the heliopause, while Traveling 1 did not see a change. Both missions saw a sudden increase in the number of high-energy cosmic rays, but Voyager 2 continued to see lower-energy particles from the Sun.. Voyager scientists published their findings in five articles published today in Nature Astronomy (1, 2, 3, 4, 5).
These types of measurements may be a little in weeds, but they are crucial for astronomers to understand space in general; each star probably has a similar boundary region between its sphere of influence and the local interstellar medium.
Voyager probes are getting older. Already, discussions are under way on how to ration their remaining power, R. Du Toit Strauss, lecturer at North-West University in South Africa, wrote in a Commentary on nature. Researchers are still hoping to better understand howOther depths of the interstellar medium, beyond regions where solar particles continue to leak from the heliosphere. They also hope to better understand the shape of the heliopause – the structure is supposed to have a long tail, like a comet, but no evidence of this tail has yet been found.
Scientists will milk probes for everyone they are worth it. There will not be another opportunity to collect data on this region of space for a very long time – even if a new probe were launched today, the solar system would remain in decades.
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