Two Voyager Spacecraft are Providing First Glimpse of Milky Way Radiation

Two Voyager spacecraft are providing the first glimpse of Milky Way radiation that scientists have already seen coming from other galaxies. Accoirding to researchers this data could lead to a better understanding of star formation, including the mystery surrounding the earliest stars in the universe. NASA launched the two Voyager spacecraft in 1977 to explore our solar system‘s giant planets and to study the electrically charged solar wind streaming from the sun. The probes far exceeded the expectations of mission planners, and to this day, they continue to beam back data. The Voyagers are now providing us with the first glimpse of a critical type of ultraviolet radiation from our galaxy known as the Lyman-alpha line.

This is the brightest band of light shed by hydrogen, the most abundant element in the universe. Studying the Lyman-alpha line can offer many insights into cosmic phenomena, such as star formation, the electrically charged environments in which the atmospheres of young planets evolve, and the shocked gas in interstellar space.