Physics professors Dastgeer Shaikh and Gary Zank of the university’s Center for Space Plasma and Aeronomic Research and Department of Physics said the model explains how density of the interplanetary particles varies in time and space. Remarkably, the distribution of scale sizes of the density fluctuations is observed to satisfy a universal law called the Kolmogorov-spectrum.
The researchers noted that interplanetary space surrounding Earth is filled up by randomly moving charged and uncharged particles. These particles originate essentially from stars like our Sun or other nearby stars and are accelerated through interplanetary space. These are real “micro-probes” that tell us about distance, composition and many important aspects of the distant cosmological objects such as neighboring stars, galaxies and massive astrophysical clouds.
“From the behavior of these particles in space, it is possible to know the extent of the physical universe,” they explained. “We provide a simpler explanation of why should particle density follow a Kolmogorov-spectrum. The interplanetary space is like water or air surrounding us. The charged particles are tied to the mass-less rope of magnetic field lines and move around in water in a random manner. Something similar to “cream in a cup of coffee” or particles of ‘baby talcum powder’ spread on the surface of stirred water that convects the particles of powder along with the water flow. We find that these particles follow a Kolmogorov-spectrum. We are trying to understand their motion statistically.”
NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft, cruising in the outer space for nearly 30 years, has tracked down the interplanetary particle density from our Sun to a distance up to 100 times the distance between the Sun and Earth. That is 93.7 million miles multiplied by 100. “It was found that the particle density varies with distance by a Kolmogorov-spectrum. But one of the major hurdles in understanding this spectrum is interplanetary turbulence that makes the particle's trajectory random in space and time,” the scientists said.
The original theoretical effort behind this model was laid down in early 1990s by Dr. Zank, who had put forward "a truly amazing hypothesis" that related the density to velocity of these turbulent particles, according to Dr. Shaikh. “It took us nearly 20 years to computationally realize the truth behind Zank's model. We run our higher resolution computational model on San Diego supercomputer (256 processors) to arrive at this conclusion. Our model is also consistent with Voyager's observations.”
Drs. Zank and Shaikh said it’s important to know correct statistical behavior of the interplanetary particle density. “Some of the techniques (like angular broadening) are based on density variations to measure the distance of stellar objects from Earth. Precise measurement of density field is critical to determine exact location, age, and composition of the stellar bodies,” they said.
Their research will appear in the November issue of the Royal Astronomical Society's journal.
Ray Garner | Newswise Science News
Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form
18.08.2017 | Cornell University
Astrophysicists explain the mysterious behavior of cosmic rays
18.08.2017 | Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
18.08.2017 | Life Sciences
18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences