Dec. 3 (UPI) — Data collected by the Voyager spacecraft, Voyager 1 and 2, has revealed a new type of solar electron burst — the satellites’ instruments detected speeding cosmic ray electrons accelerated by shock waves produced by solar eruptions.
The phenomenon was described Thursday in the Astrophysical Journal by a team of physicists led by the University of Iowa.
The Voyager spacecraft were launched in 1977. In 2012, Voyager 1 left the heliosphere and entered interstellar space. Its younger sibling, Voyager 2, escaped the solar system in 2018.
The two probes are now 14 billion miles from the sun, farther than any human-built objects.
While traveling through interstellar space, the two craft observed electrons accelerating along magnetic field lines, some moving 670 times faster than the shock waves that initially triggered their acceleration.
The cosmic burst events were followed by plasma wave oscillations, detected by the same instruments several