Voyager probes detect a new form of cosmic ray burst from the Sun

The Voyager probes are still contributing to science over 40 years later and billions of miles from home. Researchers have detected a new form of cosmic ray electron burst using instruments aboard Voyager 1 and 2. Coronal mass ejections from the Sun created shockwaves that first manifested as near-light-speed electron waves, followed by plasma waves and then the shockwaves themselves.

The electrons appear to have been propelled after reflecting off a strong magnetic field at the edge of the shockwave, with the wave motion and interstellar magnetic field lines respectively accelerating and guiding the electrons. The concept isn’t new (it happens with solar winds), but scientists haven’t seen interstellar shockwaves in a new medium like this.