HMC Physics Colloquium

Tuesdays at 16:30 in Shanahan Center for Teaching and Learning, Room B460

John Belcher

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Voyager 1 in the Interstellar Medium: What are we Seeing Out There?

Oct. 6, 2015

The Voyager spacecraft were launched in the Fall of 1977, 38 years ago.  After a “grand tour” of the outer planets, ending with Voyager 2 at Neptune in 1989, the spacecraft have continued outward toward interstellar space, continuing to return data about the particle and field environment of the distant solar and interstellar medium.  Voyager 1 is farthest from the Sun and is in the interstellar medium.  Voyager 2 is about 20 astronomical units closer to the Sun than Voyager 1, and is still in the shocked solar wind.  Voyager 2 is expected to enter the interstellar medium in the next few years.  Voyager 1 is observing a number of interesting phenomena, including shocks in the interstellar medium.  I will discuss some early history of the mission and then the latest science results from Voyager 1.