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The Pioneer Anomaly

  1. Dec 23, 2004 #1

    Ivan Seeking

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    http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=2026&ncid=2026&e=10&u=/latimests/20041221/ts_latimes/gravitymayloseitspull [Broken]

    http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/gr-qc/pdf/0104/0104064.pdf [Broken]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 23, 2004 #2
    The text mentions that one of the possibilities for the slow down is that the extra dimensions of string theory are tugging at the spacecrafts. I would like how this can be, how can extra dimensions have influence in the dynamics of an object
    If this explanation holds true, it would be the so desired experimental confirmation of string theory physics
     
  4. Dec 23, 2004 #3

    Garth

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    One question is why is this anomalous acceleration detected on distant spacecraft but not on other orbiting bodies?
    It may be explained by a clock drift between atomic clock time and ephemeris clock time, the acceleration being approximately the Hubble acceleration, http://arxiv.org/abs/gr-qc/0403013
    ap ~ cH.

    Such a clock drift is predicted by SCC.

    Garth
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2004
  5. Dec 23, 2004 #4

    tony873004

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    I've heard that it can be explained by a more massive-than-expected Kuiper Belt. Specifically, dust in the Kuiper Belt. If evenly distributed, the gravitational forces of the individual particles would cancel out and be unnoticable to any object that orbits interior to the Kuiper Belt. But once in the Kuiper Belt or outside the Kuiper Belt, their presence would be felt and would add to the mass of the solar system, slowing down any object in or external to the Kuiper Belt. If this were the case, you would also expect a more subtle slowing by any object that left the plane of the solar system. This is the case with the Ulysses spacecraft. It is experiencing slowdown as well, but not as much as the Pioneers.
     
  6. Dec 29, 2004 #5
    I've found this article in which is said that the Pioneer anomaly is due to a Berry phase
    http://arxiv.org/abs/gr-qc/0401014
    According to Wikipedia a Berry phase is "a phase acquired by quantum states when subjected to adiabatic processes, resulting from the geometrical properties of the parameter space of the Hamiltonian."
     
  7. Dec 30, 2004 #6

    Garth

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    Well that's cleared that up then!

    If so, will the same 'Berry phase' then also explain the MOND anomalous acceleration? It seems we may have a whole new gravitational theory here - with radical consequences.

    Garth
     
  8. Dec 30, 2004 #7

    ohwilleke

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    MOND makes a rather poor explanation of the Pioneer anomolies because over the distance in which they are observed the effect should vary by a factor of about one third, but in fact the effect is very constant.

    I think a better explanation is likely that the satellites are simply moving through a very sparse sea of dust rather than a true vacuum, and that occassional slight reductions in speed due to collisions with these dust particles explains the effect.
     
  9. Dec 30, 2004 #8

    Nereid

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    I've seen references to the effect having been detected by analysing Ulysses' orbit ... but haven't ever found a paper on it. This anomaly is particularly maddening ... it's very weak, not reproduced, what's left after lots and lots of other effects are 'subtracted', not easily testable, ...

    Let's all hope that LISA gets launched on time!
     
  10. Dec 30, 2004 #9
    Okay this is really out there but what if they only appear to be slowing when in fact what is happeneing is somewhat similar to the effects seen in all these experiments where they make EM signals seem to travel faster than light.

    If they entered a field of some kind that made the timing seem faster we would believe they were closer than they actually are and calculate them as slowing down...

    http://archives.cnn.com/2000/TECH/space/07/20/speed.of.light.ap/

    We know that light travels different speeds in different mediums. If light seems to be transmitted faster in cesium then it stands to reason that some other particles out there might transmit our communication signal that we use to judge the distance with just a little faster.

    IE: Maybe it's an illusion and the effect is very explainable with already known phenomena.

    Edit: Then again perhaps I should read more before I shoot my mouth off...
    In what way is the distance being measured?
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2004
  11. Dec 30, 2004 #10

    Garth

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    But would not that also cause a varying anomalous acceleration? As the spacecraft slowed down in the outer solar system it would need an increasing density of dust cloud to produce the uniform effect, and it would have to be homogeneous with a density that depended only on the distance to the sun.

    Nereid, although the anomalous acceleration is tiny at that range it is a reasonable proportion (10-3) of the Newtonian deceleration.

    As the effect has been constant and roughly equal to cH, perhaps it is due to a cosmological rather than dynamical effect, e.g. a drift between ephemeris and atomic clock time.

    Garth
     
  12. Dec 30, 2004 #11

    ohwilleke

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    Suppose the the density of the dust in the area where the change in velocity is observed (the outer solar system) is more or less uniform. As previously noted the change in velocity is a very small percentage of the total velocity (the effect is on the order of 1 x 10^-8 cm/s^2 IIRC). Even with this effect, the change is velocity over the range where the effect is observed is smaller than the uncertainty in the effect (+/- about 12%).

    The amount of decelleration caused by travelling a distance X through a cloud of dust a velocity V is basically proportional to the density of the dust cloud. As long as the density of the dust cloud is largely constant and the velocity change is modest, the change in velocity due to dust collisions per unit time should be largely constant. The dust cloud doesn't have to be more dense.

    Perhaps I'm not being clear about what I mean by I dust cloud. I am imagining that the vaccum is not really empty and that say, in every cubic meter of "empty space" there is one speck of dust in the entire region of the outer solar system. The number of specks you hit is proportional to the area your forward profile sweeps in a given time period and the accelleration isn't really "towards the sun" so much as it is "in the opposite direction of your velocity vector".
     
  13. Dec 30, 2004 #12

    Nereid

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    OK, perhaps we can test this idea! :smile:

    Since dust is neutral (or, if charged, its path through the solar system not appreciably affected by its charge), the amount of dust striking the Pioneer craft will be the same as the amount of ISM dust hitting the Earth (for the same cross-section) ... well, not really, but as an OOM, perhaps a good place to start.

    So, how much dust would be necessary to account for the Pioneer anomaly? How much does this translate to, in terms of tonnes per annum for a random square km of Pacific Ocean (or Antartica)? How does that estimate compare with what's in deep sea cores (or ice cores)?

    To re-iterate, we're only interested in OOM for now; if the numbers are vaguely similar (OOM-wise), we might look to refining the estimates. :biggrin:
     
  14. Jan 3, 2005 #13

    ohwilleke

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    This, admittedly ill reputed source, calculated quite straightforwardly, that if dust particles are 50 microns, then one particle per 25,000 cubic meters would produce the desired effect. http://www.newtonphysics.on.ca/Anomalous/Acceleration.html [Broken]

    This could not be replicated by Earth measurements because particles that sparse would burn up in the atmosphere and be indistinguishable from pollution and the Earth is much more massive per particle impacted so the orbital effect would be negligable.
     
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  15. Jan 3, 2005 #14

    Nereid

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    Maybe; maybe not.
    A), most ISM dust particles do NOT burn up in the atmosphere; they settle onto the deep ocean floor (actually everywhere, but only there do they comprise a sufficient component to be detected - elsewhere this signal is drowned out)
    B), the larger particles which do burn up leave easily detectable meteor trails; analyses of these can give robust estimates of their incidence
    C), a number of spacecraft have detected 'micrometeoride' impacts, which can be analysed to calibrate the ISM component
    D), and so on ....

    Would you care to take another look?
     
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  16. Jan 4, 2005 #15

    Chronos

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    Agreed. Data from the Galileo probe was also anomalous, yet too weak to be definitive. While no single data set seems compelling, the collective data seems strong enough to merit further research. I believe ESA has a project on this in the works. Can't remember the name off the top of my head, but it may be even more exciting than GPB [gravity probe B]. PF people use too many abbreviations.
     
  17. Jan 4, 2005 #16

    Nereid

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    Lisa

    LISA - Laser Interferometer Space Antenna.

    From this site: "However, the more scientists study gravity and its effects on celestial objects, the more mysteries they seem to uncover. One example is the so-called 'Pioneer anomaly', named after the NASA space probes Pioneer 10 and 11, on which the effect was first noticed. The anomaly was revealed when a number of spacecraft were seen to be affected by an unknown force that slowed them down. The same behaviour has now been detected on NASA's Galileo and the joint ESA-NASA Ulysses spacecraft."
     
  18. Jan 7, 2005 #17

    LURCH

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    The mechanism I tend to lean toward his radiation pressure from the collision of the solar wind with its own terminus.
     
  19. Jan 10, 2005 #18
    Radiation pressure from the solar wind pushs pioneer away from the sun, not towards.


    I don't think it's dust because....
    It's such an obvious solution. If it were a good candidate, the top scientists would not speculate anything like a break with newton motion, but they have. The top guys reckon there isn't enough dust around
    The force is constant. - meaning the space dust would have to be constant density through space, this is unlikely.
    The force is directed towards the sun. A force due to friction with dust would be opposite to the velocity of the probe.
    And last but not least, the current cosmological model is riddled with errors at galactic scale, so shouldn't be too suprising when a rare error occurs at solar system scale. This top guy, anderson, points out that the mesurement is based on hubble red shift. Then he speculates that light speed might be changing etc... Personally, I think the fact that we're using hubble red shift gives plently of scope for crazy results, since hubble redshift is part of the crazy cosmological physics scene, which is undoubtably mad, what with all that galactic rotation anomaly and what not. That anderson, top guy that he is, speculates on varying light speed, is evidence for this.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2005
  20. Jan 10, 2005 #19

    Garth

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    True, but the suggestion is that the effect is caused by an imbalance in the radiation input/output due to internal heat and radio transmissions as well as solar radiation. Although there may well be some, and some thrust from gas leakage, these are not enough to explain the anomaly, only part of it.
    All good points.
    Why suddenly rubbish "the top scientists"? Evidence is building that the standard model, which has required a series of 'fixes', (Inflation, DM, DE), needs revising but the general approach has been sound, i.e. to conflate tested theory (GR) with precise observations. (Hubble Deep Field, WMAP, S/N Ia etc.)

    Garth
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2005
  21. Jan 10, 2005 #20

    Nereid

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    Good comments about (solar) radiation pressure and dust.

    However, you lost me when you started talking about the 'hubble red shift' - would you mind taking the time to spell this out a bit please? In particular:
    - what this 'hubble red shift' is
    - how 'the measurement is based on hubble red shift'
    - how 'using hubble red shift gives plently of scope for crazy results'

    It's OT, but I'm also curious as what relationship you think there is between the 'hubble red shift' and 'that galactic rotation anomaly'.
     
  22. Jan 10, 2005 #21

    LURCH

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    Quite true. However, referrign to the solar wind itself, but rather the radiation from the terminus of the solar wind. Nearly all astronomers agree that the solar wind exerts its influence only out to a certain distance from the sun. Beyond that, there is expected to be some sort of prevailing " galactic wind", within which our solar wind forms a sort of bubble. The terminus is the boundary area where the solar wind's influence terminates. This termination is thought to be fairly abrupt (by astronomical standards); a collision, if you will, between the solar wind and the prevailing galactic wind outside.

    In most fluids, such a collision would send a shock wave back "upstream" in the form of sound waves. According to the dynamics governing supersonic fluids, the energy of the impact would radiate backwards as EM radiation. So, as pioneer approaches the terminus, it should experience radiation pressure from "in front". This is one of the theorized explanations for the so-called "Pioneer Anomoly" (the one with which I happen to agree).
     
  23. Jan 10, 2005 #22

    ohwilleke

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    It is an obvious solution, but it wasn't considered in the leading paper on the topic. (Dust in the Kuniper belt as a gravitational effect was considered at page 30, here: http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/gr-qc/pdf/0104/0104064.pdf [Broken] but not impact with dust). Note that, in contrast, solar radiation and solar wind were considered. Also, while it is obvious that dust could have this effect, it is not obvious that the amount of dust necessary to create this effect is so small. Also, this would explain why we don't see it in planets but do in spaceships.

    The mass to sweep area ratio is much higher in spaceships than planets (by a factor of 1 billion to one).

    Pioneer 241 kg; Sweep Area 9.4 square meters.
    Mars 6.39*10^23 kg; sweep area; 1.45 x 10^14 square meters

    Pioneer Mass/square meter= 25.6 kg/sq meter
    Mars mass/square meter=4.4*10^9 kg/sq meter


    Why? Also, note that this is not all space, just a particular region at the fringe of the solar system. One should expect that the outer edge of the solar system would have more dust than the inner part of the solar system where the anomolous acceleration was not experienced, because in the inner solar system the planets "swept up" most of the dust, while in the outer solar system, this didn't happen.

    The probes are moving predominantly away from the sun. See page 5 of the paper cited above. Hence the opposite of the largest component of the velocity vector and the direction towards the sun are the same. Moreover, the angle of the movement of the probes relative to straight from the sun is nearly constant, so radial component of the velocity vector would be nearly constant in magnitude.
     
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  24. Jan 10, 2005 #23

    Garth

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    Actually solar wind and solar radiation pressure are two different things. The solar wind does reach a heliosphere beyond which it integrates with the galactic wind. It is controlled by the prevailing magnetic fields out there. The solar radiation pressure is radial and continues out 'to infinity' (and beyond?) getting weaker (more spread out) as it goes.

    Garth
     
  25. Jan 13, 2005 #24
    Hi Ohwilleke, how's it going with the total infinite inverse square force field integral? Still think it's finite?
    I'd expect dust to collapse on itself, maybe forming rings like those around saturn. It's just not natural for stuff to spread itself around uniformly.

    That link you provide suggests they can measure the position of pioneer very acurately. Pioneer does have a significant tangential to direction of sun velocity component. So it should be possible to distinguish between dust friction force and extra attraction to the sun. The top guys wouldn't miss that.

    Dust isn't off the cards, but it's not my fave.

    I hadn't considered that shockwave idea. I don't see how it works.
    Radiation pressure is like loadsa tiny marbles bouncing off the probe and pushing it away from the sun. OK. But I don't see this shockwave works.
    For a start, the galactic wind won't be blowing the probe back towards the sun all the time , with constant force.
    Shockwave wise, i don't see the shockwave would bounce back perfectly towards the sun. It would bounce around in an asymetric way.
    If it was galactic wind interaction I'd expect the force to vary with respect to the probe position. The idea that the probe has followed a path whereby this shockwave induced force is constant, and always directed towards the sun seems like a million to 1 fluke.

    Aside from a crazy distant magnetic field of the sun idea, no I'm all for a revolution.

    likelyness scale
    1st revolution
    2nd dust
    3rd radiation shockwave

    hi nereid. Yes, I just skimed over how pioneer is tracked. It's doppler shift, not hubble shift, whoops. But still, cosmic scale physics is a mess. So it still follows that one or two anomalys trickle back to solar system scale. hubble red shift, galactic rotation anomaly, they're both in the same bag of mess, that's good enough for me, that's the only connection I need to conclude that hubble's law is probably wrong, the whole thing needs knocking down and rebuilding from scratch, preferably starting with QM at it's foundation.
     
  26. Jan 13, 2005 #25

    ohwilleke

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    This would be a concern if the Pioneer anamoly were measured with any great accuracy, but it is not. The error bars are roughly +/- 33% which can hide a multitude of sins.

    Another factor that suggests that, e.g., there is not a gravitational effect, is that the Ulysses probate has a significantly different amount of unexplained accelleration.
     
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