CALIBRATION OF THE VOYAGER ULTRAVIOLET SPECTROMETERS AND THE COMPOSITION OF THE HELIOSPHERE NEUTRALS: REASSESSMENT
AffiliationUniv Arizona, Lunar & Planetary Lab
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PublisherIOP PUBLISHING LTD
CitationCALIBRATION OF THE VOYAGER ULTRAVIOLET SPECTROMETERS AND THE COMPOSITION OF THE HELIOSPHERE NEUTRALS: REASSESSMENT 2016, 823 (2):161 The Astrophysical Journal
JournalThe Astrophysical Journal
Rights© 2016. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
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AbstractThe data harvest from the Voyagers' (V1 and V2) Ultraviolet Spectrometers (UVS) covers encounters with the outer planets, measurements of the heliosphere sky-background, and stellar spectrophotometry. Because their period of operation overlaps with many ultraviolet missions, the calibration of V1. and V2 UVS with other spectrometers is invaluable. Here we revisit the UVS calibration to assess the intriguing sensitivity enhancements of 243% (V1) and 156% (V2) proposed recently. Using the Ly alpha airglow from Saturn, observed in situ by both Voyagers, and remotely by International Ultraviolet Explorer (IUE), we match the Voyager values to IUE, taking into account the shape of the Saturn Ly alpha line observed with the Goddard High Resolution Spectrograph on board the Hubble Space Telescope. For all known ranges of the interplanetary hydrogen density, we show that the V1 and V2 UVS sensitivities cannot be enhanced by the amounts thus far proposed. The same diagnostic holds for distinct channels covering the diffuse He I 58.4 nm emission. Our prescription is to keep the original calibration of the Voyager UVS with a maximum uncertainty of 30%, making both instruments some of the most stable EUV/FUV spectrographs in the history of space exploration. In that frame, we reassess the excess Ly alpha emission detected by Voyager UVS deep in the heliosphere, to show its consistency with a heliospheric but not galactic origin. Our finding confirms results obtained nearly two decades ago-namely, the UVS discovery of the distortion of the heliosphere and the corresponding obliquity of the local interstellar magnetic field (similar to 40 degrees from upwind) in the solar system neighborhood-without requiring any revision of the Voyager UVS calibration.
VersionFinal published version
SponsorsCNES, Universite Pierre et Marie Curie (UPMC); Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in France