Galactic Cosmic-Ray Anisotropies: Voyager 1 in the Local Interstellar Medium

J. S. Rankin, E. C. Stone, A. C. Cummings, D. J. McComas, N. Lal, B. C. Heikkila

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19 Scopus citations


Since crossing the heliopause on 2012 August 25, Voyager 1 observed reductions in galactic cosmic ray count rates caused by a time-varying depletion of particles with pitch angles near 90, while intensities of particles with other pitch angles remain unchanged. Between late 2012 and mid-2017, three large-scale events occurred, lasting from ∼100 to ∼630 days. Omnidirectional and directional high-energy data from Voyager 1's Cosmic Ray Subsystem are used to report cosmic ray intensity variations. Omnidirectional (20 MeV) proton-dominated measurements show up to a 3.8% intensity reduction. Bidirectional (70 MeV) proton-dominated measurements taken from various spacecraft orientations provide insight about the depletion region's spatial properties. We characterize the anisotropy as a "notch" in an otherwise uniform pitch angle distribution of varying depth and width centered about 90 in pitch angle space. The notch averages 22 wide and 15% deep, signifying a depletion region that is broad and shallow. There are indications that the anisotropy is formed by a combination of magnetic trapping and cooling downstream of solar-induced transient disturbances in a region that is also likely influenced by the highly compressed fields near the heliopause.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number46
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • ISM: magnetic fields
  • astroparticle physics
  • cosmic rays
  • scattering
  • shock waves
  • turbulence


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