77Jack wrote:I could be wrong but that sounds an awful lot like Voyager is going through a double layer.
"The expectations of NASA scientists are not being met because their shock front model is incorrect. The boundary that Voyager has reached is more complex and structured than a mechanical impact. It conforms more closely to the effects seen in electric discharges in gases at low pressures, discovered by Irving Langmuir in the 1920's and 30's. Until the fabulous journey of the Voyager spacecrafts scientists have not been so confronted with the electrical nature of the Sun and its galactic environment."
—Wal Thornhill, 29 September 2006.
>>A simple diagram of the characteristics of a glow discharge (after Cobine). Here the Sun is the anode at the right and the discharge into the interstellar plasma is similar to that of a high-voltage transmission line in air—commonly referred to as a "corona discharge."
It is a plasma sheath, or "double layer" of charge that separates the solar plasma from the interstellar plasma. The double layer forms part of the larger electric circuit of the solar Z-pinch. The double layer carries current and has an inner region of negative charge density and an outer region of positive charge density. Between the charge layers is a strong electric field. Allowing for the vast hourglass shape of the Sun's galactic circuitry, which will distort the pattern found by the Voyager spacecraft from the expected spherical shape, there are some general observations that can be made about what to expect. The complexity of plasma behavior makes it impossible to be highly specific.
The first significant feature encountered by Voyager as it moves from right to left in the diagram is the reversal of the electric field, which decelerates solar wind protons and accelerates electrons along the magnetic field lines. This effect gave NASA scientists the impression that Voyager had reached a hypothetical termination shock. It explains why the deceleration of the solar wind protons was greater than expected ("sluggish solar wind') and no ACR [anomalous cosmic ray] particles were found being accelerated there. Also beams of electrons were often found streaming out from the Sun along the magnetic field lines.
The electric field is strongest near the virtual cathode and it accelerates galactic electrons toward the Sun, leaving a region of positive space charge. The energetic electrons will ionize neutral interstellar particles that are drifting through the plasma sheath. It seems likely that those formed to the right of the voltage peak will experience acceleration toward the Sun to become anomalous cosmic rays. The voltage maximum in the diagram may, as Langmuir noted, be higher than the Sun's potential by an amount sufficient to account for the maximum energy of anomalous cosmic rays.
However, the most interesting effect may be found in the "cathode drop" region to the left of the voltage peak, where the powerful electric field has been estimated to accelerate solar wind protons away from the Sun at cosmic ray energies of the order of 10 billion electron volts. It seems that all stars generate cosmic rays in this way with energies that reflect the driving voltage of the star. The effect on a charged Voyager spacecraft could be very interesting too.
While passing through the heliosheath, Voyager 1 experienced many sudden and drastic changes in the surrounding magnetic field driven by structures called current sheets.
Marnee wrote:77Jack wrote:I could be wrong but that sounds an awful lot like Voyager is going through a double layer.
Interesting. Could you really quickly explain why you say that so I can understand better, please? Thanks ahead of time.
what can we expect to see with such a tiny little thing crossing over into such a mindbogglingly large area of charge?
Would anyone like to comment on why comets are not reported to follow helical trajectories, if they are charged bodies as EU thinking alleges and they are crossing through the interplanetary magnetic field generated by the Sun?
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