The two Voyager spacecraft have observed strong radio waves generated when shocks produced by solar activity cross into the local interstellar medium. This project will develop a detailed quantitative theoretical model for the generation and propagation of the radio emission from its source to the Voyager spacecraft for all the radio outbursts to date. The theory will be compared with observations from the Voyager and New Horizons spacecraft.
NASA’s two Voyager spacecraft have observed strong levels of radio waves in the range 2 – 4 kHz that are stimulated when shocks produced by solar activity cross into the local interstellar medium. This region, where interstellar magnetic field lines are hung up on the helipause boundary that separates the solar and interstellar plasma, is called the plasma depletion layer (PDL). Special conditions should exist in the PDL. This project is to produce a detailed quantitative model for the generation and propagation of the radio emission between its source and the Voyager spacecraft for all the radio outbursts to date (whether inside or outside the solar system), to predict the properties inside the source region and of the PDL, and to compare the predictions with observations from the Voyager and New Horizons spacecraft. This involves (1) modernizing an existing analytic theory for the radio emissions, by Cairns (the proposed supervisor), Mitchell, and Zank, (2) combining the theory with state-of-the-art global simulations of the solar system’s interactions with the local interstellar medium with and without travelling shock, and (3) developing and using a ray-tracing code to predict the propagation of the radio emission from the source regions in the PDL to observers. The global simulations will be provided by colleagues Zank and Pogorelov at the University of Alabama at Huntsville in the USA, so the project will involve extensive Australia-USA collaboration, some travel, and be directly relevant to the long-awaited new NASA projects IMAP and Interstellar Probe.
Professor Cairns has multiple other research project opportunities involving space physics, small satellites, space industry, Earth observations, space weather and situational awareness, and space research more generally. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org if you think it would be useful to discuss other projects.
The research will be at the University of Sydney's Camperdown campus and involve collaborations with colleagues at the University of Huntsville at Alabama in the USA.
HDR Inherent Requirements
In addition to the academic requirements set out in the Science Postgraduate Handbook, you may be required to satisfy a number of inherent requirements to complete this degree. Example of inherent requirement may include:
The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is 2804