First Plasma Wave Observations at Uranus

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Science  04 Jul 1986:
Vol. 233, Issue 4759, pp. 106-109
DOI: 10.1126/science.233.4759.106


Radio emissions from Uranus were detected by the Voyager 2 plasma wave instrument about 5 days before closest approach at frequencies of 31.1 and 56.2 kilohertz. About 10 hours before closest approach the bow shock was identified by an abrupt broadband burst of electrostatic turbulence at a radial distance of 23.5 Uranus radii. Once Voyager was inside the magnetosphere, strong whistler-mode hiss and chorus emissions were observed at radial distances less than about 8 Uranus radii, in the same region where the energetic particle instruments detected intense fluxes of energetic electrons. Various other plasma waves were also observed in this same region. At the ring plane crossing, the plasma wave instrument detected a large number of impulsive events that are interpreted as impacts of micrometer-sized dust particles on the spacecraft. The maximum impact rate was about 30 to 50 impacts per second, and the north-south thickness of the impact region was about 4000 kilometers.