NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft has detected a “persistent hum” beyond our solar system.
Voyager 1, is one of Earth’s longest-flying probe launched on September 5 1977, from Cape Canaveral, Florida, aboard a Titan-Centaur rocket.
The craft initially designed to last five years, more than 43 years after they launched, the probe are still sending back data as they explore interstellar space.
Instruments aboard Voyager 1, which has moved past the edge of the solar system, through the solar system’s border with interstellar space, known as the heliopause, and into the interstellar medium, have detected the sounds of plasma waves, according to a research study published in the journal ‘Nature Astronomy’.
A Cornell University-led team studied data transmitted from the spacecraft, sent from 14 billion miles away and discovered the interstellar gas emissions.
“It’s very faint and monotone, because it is in a narrow frequency bandwidth,” Stella Koch Ocker, a Cornell University doctoral student in astronomy, said in a statement.
“We’re detecting the faint, persistent hum of interstellar gas.”
NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft flew by Jupiter in 1979, and by Saturn in 1980, before crossing the heliopause in August 2012.
After entering interstellar space, Voyager 1’s Plasma Wave System instrument detected oscillations in the gas, which is caused by our sun. But researchers also noticed that in between those eruptions, there was a steady and persistent signature.
Researchers think there is more low-level activity in the interstellar gas than was previously believed. This will allow researchers to monitor the spatial distribution of plasma.
Voyager 1’s data can also help scientists understand the interactions between the interstellar medium and the sun’s solar wind, a steady stream of charged particles outflowing from our star.
Voyager 1 is the most distant human-made object in space and continues to function, despite its age and distance.