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NASA’s Voyager 1 discovers mysterious “hum” outside the solar system



(Planet Today) The National Aeronautics and Space Administration‘s (NASA) Voyager 1 probe has picked up a strange “hum” coming from outside our solar system.

(Article by Franz Walker republished from

Launched back in 1977, Voyager 1 is currently the most distant man-made object ever. Its 44-year journey has taken it past the edge of the solar system into the interstellar medium.

Now, instruments aboard Voyager 1 that have attempted to analyze that interstellar medium have discovered a constant humming, which appears to be the “noise” of the universe beyond our solar system. This drone appears to be emitted by interstellar gas or plasma waves found in the mostly empty space between star systems.

“It’s very faint and monotone, because it is in a narrow frequency bandwidth,” said Stella Koch Ocker, a doctoral student in astronomy at Cornell University, who found the noise. “We’re detecting the faint, persistent hum of interstellar gas.”

The findings, published in the journal Nature Astronomy, suggest that there is more going on in interstellar gas than scientists may have previously thought.

Hum hints at the true nature of interstellar plasma

When Voyager 1 went beyond the heliopause – the border between the solar system and interstellar space – it detected perturbations in the interstellar gas. But, in between those perturbations, which are caused by our own roiling sun, the researchers also uncovered a steady, persistent signature produced by the near-vacuum of space.

“The interstellar medium is like a quiet or gentle rain,” said senior author James Cordes, the George Feldstein Professor of Astronomy at Cornell. “In the case of a solar outburst, it’s like detecting a lightning burst in a thunderstorm and then it’s back to a gentle rain.”

Ocker, on the other hand, believes that the steady signature indicates that there is more low-level activity in the interstellar gas than previously thought. This then could allow researchers like her to track the spatial distribution of plasma when it’s not being perturbed by solar flares.

Another Cornell scientist on the team, Shami Chatterjee, explained that the discovery was important as it shows that researchers can measure the density of interstellar plasma on its own, without relying on activity from the sun.

“We’ve never had a chance to evaluate it. Now we know we don’t need a fortuitous event related to the sun to measure interstellar plasma,” Chatterjee said. “Regardless of what the sun is doing, Voyager is sending back detail. The craft is saying, ‘Here’s the density I’m swimming through right now. And here it is now. And here it is now. And here it is now.’ Voyager is quite distant and will be doing this continuously.”

Voyager 1 to reach end of life soon

The findings demonstrate how, 44-years on, Voyager 1 is still making important discoveries despite having already left the solar system. That said, the probe’s distance from the earth and its age mean that it won’t be able to do so for very long.

At 14 billion miles from the Earth, and getting further all the time, Voyager 1 can only send back very limited amounts of data. NASA scientists can only receive about 160 bits each second from the probe. This is much less than the already limited 21 kilobits it could send when it was launched and pales in comparison to the amount of data modern systems can transmit.

More importantly, Voyager 1’s power supply is going to run out soon. It’s expected that by 2025, the radioisotope thermoelectric generators that power the probe will no longer be able to supply enough electricity to power Voyager 1’s instruments.

Voyager 1’s eventual shutdown means that scientists will have to look towards other spacecraft on a solar exit trajectory to study the space beyond the solar system. The New Horizons probe, launched in 2006, could fulfill this role once it reaches the ends of the solar system in a decade or so.

Beyond that, future interstellar probes, launched with upcoming heavy-lift rockets from NASA and SpaceX could reach interstellar space much faster than previous probes.

Follow for more on how NASA is planning to study interstellar space.

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Alien space debris stuck in Earth’s orbit, researchers say




Recently, a group of experts from Harvard University, led by physics
professor Avi Loeb, announced the possible presence of alien space
debris in Earth’s orbit, reports the Daily Star.

space research expert Professor Loeb is confident that the discovery of
such “interstellar objects could help expand our knowledge of possible
alien civilizations and technologies. A team of scientists is conducting
research to confirm that some of the objects in our orbit may be
connected to other star systems.

During an interview with Live
Science, Professor Loeb explained that these objects could enter the
solar system from interstellar space, defying Jupiter’s gravitational
pull and occupying limited orbits around the sun.

Some of them may
have technological origins similar to the probes sent by mankind into
interstellar space, such as Voyager 1 and Voyager 2, Pioneer 10 and 11
and New Horizons.

despite these interesting assumptions, Professor Loeb did not specify
what specific objects he was talking about. In his research report, he
notes that there could be “a significant number” of potentially
detectable objects in Earth’s orbit.

To confirm their assumptions,
the team of scientists uses computer simulations and the Vera Rubin
Observatory (Chile) with a high-resolution camera of 3.2 billion pixels.
This will allow for regular observations of the Southern sky and the
possibility of detecting several captured objects about the size of a
football field.

It is assumed that these interstellar objects passed through the
boundaries of the solar system and may carry unique information about
other civilizations and their technologies. If we could confirm the
origin of these objects, the mysteries that open before us, this would
be a real breakthrough in space exploration.

Professor Loeb
expresses hope that the new research will not only help expand our
knowledge of extraterrestrial technologies, but may also lead to the
discovery of new alien civilizations . Answers to such questions can be
of global significance and influence our understanding of the place of
mankind in the Universe.

while there are still many questions and assumptions, the study by
Professor Loeb and his team opens a new chapter in space exploration.
Each new discovery can be the key to deciphering the mysteries of the
cosmos and the possibility of encountering alien life forms.

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Betelgeuse is acting strange again




Betelgeuse, a red giant on the brink of death, continues to show
unusual behavior. After the Great Blackout, which occurred in late 2019
and early 2020, the star became unusually bright. It is now the seventh
brightest star in the sky, while it normally ranks tenth. This has led
to speculation that Betelgeuse is preparing to explode in a
spectacularly large supernova.

However, scientists believe it’s too early to tell, and it’s likely
that this behavior is due to ongoing fluctuations after the Great
Blackout of 2019, and the star will return to normal within a decade.

Betelgeuse is one of the most interesting stars in the sky. It is
about 700 light-years from Earth and is a red giant in the last stage of
its life. It is also an unusual star for a red giant because it was
previously a monster blue-white O-type star, the most massive class of

Betelgeuse has changed its spectral type because it has almost
exhausted its hydrogen reserves. It now burns helium into carbon and
oxygen and has expanded to a gigantic size: about 764 times the size of
the Sun and about 16.5 to 19 times its mass.

Eventually it will run out of fuel to burn, become a supernova, eject
its outer material, and its core will collapse into a neutron star.

Before the Great Blackout, Betelgeuse also had periodic fluctuations
in brightness. The longest of these cycles is about 5.9 years and the
other is 400 days. But it seems that the Great Blackout caused changes
in these oscillations.

A new paper by astrophysicist Morgan McLeod of the
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics has shown that the 400-day
cycle appears to have been halved. This pulsational cycle is probably
caused by expansion and contraction within the star. According to
simulations carried out by MacLeod and his colleagues, the convective
flow inside Betelgeuse may have risen and become material that separates
from the star.

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