The Voyager 1 spacecraft has detected a mysterious humming sound in space. This sound was coming from 14 million miles away in deep interstellar space. A team from Cornell University is studying the data sent by Voyager 1. According to new research published in the Journal Nature Astronomy, Voyager 1 has detected the sound of plasma waves.
Voyager 1 spacecraft exited our solar system about 9 years ago. It was launched 44 years ago by NASA on 5th September 1977. Since then it has been exploring the vast emptiness of interstellar space. Today, it is the most distant human-made object from Earth and about 14.1 billion miles away from us. It continues to function despite its age and distance.
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This discovery confirms that interstellar space is not completely vacuum. The persistent hum represents the background noise present in the immense regions between the star systems. The radiation present in low densities in gaseous form is also called the interstellar medium. This medium is mostly in an ionized or electrically charged state called plasma. This new study confirms that the steady vibrations are unrelated to solar activity.
The instrument is called a Plasma Wave System, installed in the spacecraft. It has been detecting large directions from the Sun. The scientists believe that these weak plasma waves are distinct from other detections made by Voyager 1. This strange hum has proved that more activities are going on in the interstellar gas than previously thought. This data will help scientists to understand the interactions between the interstellar medium and the solar wind.
The original mission of it was to study the outer solar system. It has long past exceeded its lifespan and continues to exchange data. It officially entered into interstellar space in August 2012. It studied Jupiter and the rings of Saturn for a long time. After its mission, NASA decided to send it out of the solar system.
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While leaving, it turned its camera towards Earth for the last time and clicked a picture. This picture was taken from about 6 billion kilometers away. Our world looked like a small “Pale Blue Dot”.
Voyager 1 will continue its journey but its power supply will run out probably this decade. Until then, it is giving researchers the chance to study the interstellar plasma while it passes through them.