Voyager Planetary Radio Astronomy at Neptune

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  15 Dec 1989:
Vol. 246, Issue 4936, pp. 1498-1501
DOI: 10.1126/science.246.4936.1498


Detection of very intense short radio bursts from Neptune was possible as early as 30 days before closest approach and at least 22 days after closest approach. The bursts lay at frequencies in the range 100 to 1300 kilohertz, were narrowband and strongly polarized, and presumably originated in southern polar regions ofthe planet. Episodes of smooth emissions in the frequency range from 20 to 865 kilohertz were detected during an interval of at least 10 days around closest approach. The bursts and the smooth emissions can be described in terms of rotation in a period of 16.11 ± 0.05 hours. The bursts came at regular intervals throughout the encounter, including episodes both before and after closest approach. The smooth emissions showed a half-cycle phase shift between the five episodes before and after closest approach. This experiment detected the foreshock of Neptune's magnetosphere and the impacts of dust at the times of ring-plane crossings and also near the time of closest approach. Finally, there is no evidence for Neptunian electrostatic discharges.

Stay Connected to Science