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Mysterious Acceleration to the Edge of the Solar System
The telemetry data coming from Pioneer-10 , Pioneer-11 and Galileo , as well as the data of the ground network for observing the distant space (Deep Space Network - DSN), belonging to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of NASA (Pasadena, USA), allowed A team of American specialists (JDAnderson, Ph.F. Leing, ELLau et al.) to establish the presence of anomalous acceleration in the motion of these spacecraft. In addition to the usual acceleration caused by the attraction of the Sun and falling back in proportion to the square of the distance from it, a slight additional acceleration, constant in magnitude and directed toward the Sun, appears in the movement of the apparatuses.
"Pioneer-10" was launched in March 1972 , soon followed by "Pioneer-11 . " After passing through Jupiter and Saturn, the apparatus moved along a hyperbolic orbit near the ecliptic plane. Although the mission of Pioneer-10 officially ended in 1997 , it continues to transmit messages to Earth. Radio messages from "Pioneer-11" stopped coming in 1990.
Spacecraft such as "Pioneer" are ideal for studying the dynamics of astronomical objects. First, they are equipped with a system for stabilizing their own rotation; Secondly, they were considerably removed (in March 1997, Pioneer-10 was 67 AU away from the Sun), and therefore do not require frequent maneuvering in order to maintain the correct orientation to the Earth. This makes it possible to carry out precise Doppler measurements and, in particular, to determine the acceleration of the apparatus with an accuracy of 10-10 cm / s2 (according to data averaged over five days).
Already in 1980 , when the "Pioneer-10" was at a distance of 20 AU. from the Sun, there was a systematic inconsistency between the measured acceleration of the apparatus and calculated by gravity to the Sun. The additional acceleration is directed strictly to the Sun and is estimated at 8 • 10-8 cm / s2 (for this distance the gravitational attraction to the Sun is about 3.8 • 10-4 cm / s2 ). The subsequent measurements confirmed this result with increasing accuracy. The greatest surprise was the permanence of the additional acceleration: as the "Pioneer-10" was removed from 40 to 60 AU. The magnitude of the acceleration did not change with an accuracy of 2 • 10-8 cm / s2 . As detailed calculations have shown, the anomalous additional acceleration can not be caused neither by the gravitational action of the Kuiper belt, nor by the galactic attraction, nor by a number of other non-gravitational factors: gas leakage from the apparatus, pressure of sunlight or wind, etc. All of them contribute to acceleration is at least two or three orders of magnitude smaller.
Analysis of the Galileo motion gives a close value of the additional anomalous acceleration ( ~ 10-7 cm / s2 ), but for this device the contribution to acceleration due to the pressure of sunlight is about the same magnitude, and besides, the uncertainty associated with frequent maneuvers " Galileo . "
Date of publication 23.09.2004гг
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