Geophysical Research Letters

Recent Voyager 1 data indicate that on 25 August 2012 at a distance of 121.7 AU from the Sun, sudden and unprecedented intensity changes were observed in anomalous and galactic cosmic rays


  • W. R. Webber,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Astronomy, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico, USA
    • Corresponding author: W. R. Webber, Department of Astronomy, New Mexico State University, P.O. Box 30001, 1320 Frenger St., Las Cruces, NM 88003, USA. (

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  • F. B. McDonald

    1. Institute of Physical Science and Technology, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, USA
    2. Deceased August 31, 2012
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[1] At the Voyager 1 (V1) spacecraft in the outer heliosphere, the intensities of both anomalous cosmic rays and galactic cosmic rays (GCRs) changed suddenly and decisively on 25 August (121.7 AU from the Sun). Within a matter of a few days, the intensity of 1.9–2.7 MeV protons and helium nuclei had decreased to less than 0.1 of their previous value, and eventually the intensities decreased by factors of at least 300–500. Also, on 25 August, the GCR protons, helium, and electrons increased suddenly in just 2 or 3 days by a factor of up to 2. The intensities of the GCR nuclei of all energies from 2 to 400 MeV then remained essentially constant with intensity levels and spectra that may represent the local GCR. The suddenness of these intensity changes indicates that V1 has crossed a well-defined boundary for energetic particles at this time possibly related to the heliopause.