The Buzz Beyond the Solar System: The Screams of the Universe

1977: The year Jimmy Carter became president of the United States, and the last man to be judged by the guillotine in France, “Rocky” with Sylvester Stallone won three Oscars.

It’s been a long time since the United States sent two space probes on their journey: Voyager 1 and 2. The “voyagers” have now left the solar system 44 years after the time of flight, but they’re still working and still sending signals back to Earth. Now they appear: there, outside, something is still going on – although everything is already empty there. More precisely: it hums. Posted in May 2021 Nature Astronomy Magazine Discovery of Voyager 1: The discovery of continuous plasma waves in interstellar space.

There is something else in space: ionized atoms of cosmic rays at the speed of light

Ed Stone has been in charge of the project since he started Voyager. Meanwhile, there is almost no science left, so the team is no longer based on the main campus of the famous Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which is currently flying a helicopter on Mars. Ed Stone sees it calmly, and, in an interview with MDR WISSEN, he said, “Our current missions to Mars require a much bigger team here on Earth. They’ve been outsourced. We’re just a small team. We do something like ‘cruise science'”.

“Cruise Science” – This sounds like a cruise and it’s not all wrong with it. The little Voyager team works like the crew of an ocean ship, all they have to do is keep their ship on course. Even this almost works on its own. Ed Stone calls the little science still falling out there, in the void, “cruise science”: Well, it’s not really “nothing.” It’s a better vacuum than anywhere here on Earth. But there is something else there as well. Ionizing cosmic ray atoms fly at nearly the speed of light. Now that we have let go of the Sun’s field of influence, we can measure the magnetic field of the Milky Way for the first time.”

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Why is it necessary to evaluate the measurement of the magnetic field of the Milky Way

We succeeded for the first time four years ago. But it took time to evaluate the measurements. Voyager 1 and 2 are farther away, over twenty billion kilometers. Your signals are weak and it takes about a day to reach Earth from outside the solar system. But now a team led by astrophysicist Stella Ukr of Cornell University in New York has established: “Something is still going on there, too. Vacuum makes music.” We have detected plasma whirring in interstellar space. What we hear is the sound of gas vibrating.”

Gas is called plasma when the building blocks of atoms, electrons and protons fly freely around it. This is exactly what happens in the interstellar region, in interstellar space. But why are they humming? You don’t really know, the astrophysicist admits: “We think plasmas vibrate because electrons and protons don’t behave stably. They don’t stay in place, but are constantly moving. This most likely creates an electric field, vibrating in space. We detected these vibrations with Voyager1 antennas. “.

screaming from the universe

This hype is there all the time. Never stopped and never seen before. Whoever was outside the solar system, was nothing and was no one before. Even if someone were to fly out there, Oker says, they wouldn’t notice, and he explains why: “In a vacuum, of course, you wouldn’t hear anything, even if it was cool.” That’s why astronomers shift the radio data far enough into the frequency spectrum for it to be heard. Not a gentle buzz, but a harsh hum, almost a screech from the universe. But the hype is no gag, it also reveals a few things to scientists like astrophysicist Ocher about the nature of space outside the solar system. The scientist says: “Our sun and all the planets move through the interstellar medium. We get a more complete picture of how this gas is distributed. The frequency of vibrations in the plasma tells us something about the density of the gas through which Voyager passes – the probes are flying. Where is it dense and compact, where it is spread out and distributed Widely? ”

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The Voyager probes will likely fly and transmit for a few more years. Who knows what surprises await them there.

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