skip to main content

Title: WHY ARE THE MAGNETIC FIELD DIRECTIONS MEASURED BY VOYAGER 1 ON BOTH SIDES OF THE HELIOPAUSE SO SIMILAR?

The solar wind carves a cavity in the interstellar plasma bounded by a surface, called the heliopause (HP), that separates the plasma and magnetic field of solar origin from those of interstellar origin. It is now generally accepted that in 2012 August Voyager 1 (V1) crossed that boundary. Unexpectedly, the magnetic fields on both sides of the HP, although theoretically independent of each other, were found to be similar in direction. This delayed the identification of the boundary as the HP and led to many alternative explanations. Here, we show that the Voyager 1 observations can be readily explained and, after the Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) discovery of the ribbon, could even have been predicted. Our explanation relies on the fact that the Voyager 1 and undisturbed interstellar field directions (which we assume to be given by the IBEX ribbon center (RC)) share the same heliolatitude (∼34.°5) and are not far separated in longitude (difference ∼27°). Our result confirms that Voyager 1 has indeed crossed the HP and offers the first independent confirmation that the IBEX RC is in fact the direction of the undisturbed interstellar magnetic field. For Voyager 2, we predict that the difference between the inner andmore » outer magnetic field directions at the HP will be significantly larger than that observed by Voyager 1 (∼30° instead of ∼20°), and that the outer field direction will be close to the RC.« less
Authors:
; ;  [1]
  1. Space Research Centre, Warsaw (Poland)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22365611
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal Letters; Journal Volume: 789; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; HELIOSPHERE; INTERSTELLAR MAGNETIC FIELDS; INTERSTELLAR SPACE; PLASMA; SOLAR WIND; SUN; SURFACES; VOYAGER SPACE PROBES