The Voyager spaceship may be billions of miles away and over 40 years old, but it is still making important discoveries.
An article published in the Astronomical Journal describes a completely new form of electronic splash detected during the flight of one of Voyager. This spike was found in an interstellar environment, a region of space in which the density of matter is extremely low. As noted in the new document, something unusual happens to the cosmic ray electrons that break through this remote area: they are reflected and accelerated to extreme speeds due to the offensive shock waves created by the Sun.
In itself, there is nothing new in this process where shock waves push particles. What is new, however, is that these electron bursts appear far ahead of the impending shock wave and that this happens in an area that should remain virtually empty. The co-author of this new article is astrophysicist Don Gurnett from the University of Iowa.
Launched in 1977, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 overcame an incredible journey, were the first to fly outside the solar system and still allow for meaningful scientific work after years of mission. The probes detected new energy bursts using on-board instruments designed to detect cosmic radiation.