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Science. 2005 Sep 23;309(5743):2017-20.

Voyager 1 explores the termination shock region and the heliosheath beyond.

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California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA.


Voyager 1 crossed the termination shock of the supersonic flow of the solar wind on 16 December 2004 at a distance of 94.01 astronomical units from the Sun, becoming the first spacecraft to begin exploring the heliosheath, the outermost layer of the heliosphere. The shock is a steady source of low-energy protons with an energy spectrum approximately E(-1.41 +/- 0.15) from 0.5 to approximately 3.5 megaelectron volts, consistent with a weak termination shock having a solar wind velocity jump ratio r=2.6(-0.2)(+0.4). However, in contradiction to many predictions, the intensity of anomalous cosmic ray (ACR) helium did not peak at the shock, indicating that the ACR source is not in the shock region local to Voyager 1. The intensities of approximately 10-megaelectron volt electrons, ACRs, and galactic cosmic rays have steadily increased since late 2004 as the effects of solar modulation have decreased.

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