Presentation Archive

Faltering Steps into the Galaxy: Journeying into the Interstellar Medium

Gary Zank (UAH)

July 30, 2019

Abstract: Both Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 have now entered the very local interstellar medium (VLISM), a moment of great historical import. We describe the Voyager 1 and 2 magnetic field, plasma, energetic particle, and plasma wave and radio emission observations, the initial uncertainty surrounding a possible crossing of the heliopause Voyager 1, and the eventual clarification by the Voyager 1 Plasma Waves Analyzer. Some of the basic physics of the nature of the interaction between the Sun’s supersonic expanding atmosphere and the partially ionized interstellar medium will be described. We will describe our very first in situ observations of the interstellar medium, and some of the puzzles that are emerging. Finally, some irreverent thoughts about how science is done will conclude the presentation.