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Galaxy Forum Kansas 2013 - Tomas Armstrong - Are we there yet


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VOYAGER (Are We There Yet?) — We might be--according to Dr. Thomas Armstrong, NASA co-investigator on the Voyager project for its entire 35 years. In this update to last year's presentation, find out from Armstrong the latest information which leads many scientists to think Voyager I has entered interstellar space and what they are finding out.

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Galaxy Forum Kansas 2013 - Tomas Armstrong - Are we there yet

  1. 1. “Are we there yet?” Thomas P Armstrong July 27, 2013 Galaxy Forum The Kansas Cosmosphere Sponsored by Ad Astra Kansas Foundation
  2. 2. The BIG questions 1. Where does the solar system end and the galaxy begin? 2. How will we know when we get there? 3. What new science and human understanding can be expected from “getting there”?
  3. 3. Voyager Launch from Cape Kennedy in 1977 • Voyager 1 flew by Jupiter in March 1979, followed by Voyager 2 in August.  V2 flew by Saturn in August 1980, followed by V1 in October.
  4. 4. Voyager 1 and 2 Travelogue
  5. 5. History • After its Saturn flyby, Voyager 1 was targeted to follow a trajectory to reach the outer heliosphere “quickly”. • After its Saturn flyby, Voyager 2 was targeted to fly by Uranus in 1986 and Neptune in 1989. • After the planetary missions were complete, both spacecraft were reprogrammed to continue recording radio waves, plasma, and radiation arriving at the spacecraft.
  6. 6. Heliospheric Regions and Boundaries
  7. 7. Answers (as of today!) • The “cliff” last September was probably the “edge” • When the low energy (heliospheric— i.e., made by the Sun) radiation went away, that was a very strong indication of the “edge” • When the high energy radiation (galactic cosmic rays) increased, that was a very strong indication of the “edge”
  8. 8. “Embargoed” • Awaiting publication are results from Voyager 1 Plasma Wave System (local radio receiver) that tend to corroborate the “cliff” hypothesis.
  9. 9. Yet to be explained • The magnetic field at Voyager 1 is much stronger than has been expected from astronomical observations of the polarization of starlight, and its direction appears to be controlled by the orientation of the Sun’s axis!
  10. 10. Important Links • • • sites.html#voyager • • servation/viewingsaturn/
  11. 11. What next? • Voyager 1 observations will continue and develop more certainty. • Voyager 2 observations will continue and a “cliff” crossing is expected one of these years. • More modeling and analysis of the details of the composition and spectra of galactic radiation will continue, seeking clues from its elemental and spectral composition.
  12. 12. Thank you for your attention. Questions?
  13. 13. Earth viewed from Cassini at Saturn • Carolyn Porco the Cassini Imaging Team leader arranged to have Earth’s family portrait done on July 19. Wide angle and narrow angle views follow