This visual represents sounds captured of interstellar space by NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft. Voyager 1's plasma wave instrument detected the vibrations of dense interstellar plasma.
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Voyager Captures Sounds of Interstellar Space

Click here to hear the sounds of NASA's Voyager 1 in interstellar space PIA17045
Click on the image to hear the sounds in Voyager 1 in interstellar space

NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft captured these sounds of interstellar space. Voyager 1's plasma wave instrument detected the vibrations of dense interstellar plasma, or ionized gas, from October to November 2012 and April to May 2013.

The graphic shows the frequency of the waves, which indicate the density of the plasma. Colors indicate the intensity of the waves, or how "loud" they are. Red indicates the loudest waves and blue indicates the weakest.

The soundtrack reproduces the amplitude and frequency of the plasma waves as "heard" by Voyager 1. The waves detected by the instrument antennas can be simply amplified and played through a speaker. These frequencies are within the range heard by human ears.

Scientists noticed that each occurrence involved a rising tone. The dashed line indicates that the rising tones follow the same slope. This means a continuously increasing density.

When scientists extrapolated this line even further back in time (not shown), they deduced that Voyager 1 first encountered interstellar plasma in August 2012.

The Voyager spacecraft were built and continue to be operated by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in Pasadena, Calif. Caltech manages JPL for NASA. The Voyager missions are a part of NASA's Heliophysics System Observatory, sponsored by the Heliophysics Division of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

For more information about Voyager, visit http://www.nasa.gov/voyager and http://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov.

Image details

ID#:
PIA17045

Date added:
2013-09-12

Target:
Sun

Mission:
Voyager

Spacecraft:
Voyager 1

Instruments:
Plasma Wave Instrument

Rating:



Views:
2,510

Full-Res TIFF:
PIA17045.tif (2.77 MB)

Full-Res JPG:
PIA17045.jpg (0.06 MB)

Image credit:
NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Iowa