`` NEWTON: Watts per Square Meter Reception from Voyager 1
Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week NEWTON Teachers Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Referencing NEWTON Frequently Asked Questions About Ask A Scientist About NEWTON Education At Argonne Watts per Square Meter Reception from Voyager 1

Name: Jim
Status: educator
Grade: 9-12
Location: CA
Country: USA
Date: Summer 2013

How many watts per square meter did NASA receive from Voyager 1 at time of recent reception? (June 2013)

Hi Jim,

Thanks for the question. Voyager 1 has electrical power courtesy of radioisotope thermal generators which utilize Plutonium-238. At present, after accounting for the decay of Pu-238, Voyager 1 has about 225 W of electrical power. Voyage 1 is about 200 AU units of distance from Earth at present. Since, the intensity follows an inverse square law, use the equation I = P/(4*pi*R^2) where I is the intensity in W/m^2, P is the power output of the Sun in W, and R is the distance from the Earth to Voyager in m. You will need to convert AU (astronomical units) into meters.

I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have more questions. Thanks Jeff Grell

Click here to return to the Physics Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (help@newton.dep.anl.gov), or at Argonne's Educational Programs

Educational Programs
Building 223
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: November 2011
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory