A mysterious 'hum' vibrates interstellar space. Voyager 1 has a recording of it. - Livescience.com
May 12, 2021 58 secs

Forty-four years after it rocketed off from Earth, the Voyager 1 spacecraft is detecting the background "hum" of interstellar space for the first time.

Since popping out of this bubble, Voyager 1 has been periodically sending back measurements of the interstellar medium.

Occasionally, the sun sends off a burst of energy known as a coronal mass ejection that disturbs this medium, causing the plasma, or ionized gas, of interstellar space to vibrate.

Now, though, researchers have realized that Voyager 1 is also sending back a far more subtle signal: the constant "hum" of the interstellar plasma.

Both Voyager 1 and 2 are still transmitting from interstellar space (Voyager 2 made it past the heliosphere in 2018).

Ocker and her colleagues combed through data from the last five years of Voyager 1's transmissions to find the subtle hum of interstellar space.

Having a way to measure plasma density along Voyager 1's path is useful, because researchers want to learn more about the distribution of ionized gas outside the solar system.

"So Voyager being outside of this bubble measuring the density continuously can tell us more about how the plasma is behaving outside the bubble and how the bubble is changing over time.".


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