Volume 77, Number 1, January 2007
Article Number 19001
Number of page(s) 5
Section Geophysics, Astronomy and Astrophysics
Published online 12 January 2007
EPL, 77 (2007) 19001
DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/77/19001

Nonlinear electrodynamics and the Pioneer 10/11 spacecraft anomaly

J. P. Mbelek1, H. J. Mosquera Cuesta2, 3, M. Novello2 and J. M. Salim2

1  Service d'Astrophysique, CEA-Saclay - Paris, France
2  Instituto de Cosmologia, Relatividade e Astrofísica (ICRA-BR), Centro Brasileiro de Pesquisas Físicas (CBPF) - Rua Dr. Xavier Sigaud 150, 22290-180, RJ, Brazil
3  Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics - Strada Costiera 11, Miramare, 34014 Trieste, Italy

received 22 August 2006; accepted in final form 4 November 2006; published January 2007
published online 12 January 2007

The occurrence of the phenomenon known as photon acceleration is a natural prediction of nonlinear electrodynamics (NLED). This would appear as an anomalous frequency shift in any modelization of the electromagnetic field that only takes into account the classical Maxwell theory. Thus, it is tempting to address the unresolved anomalous, steady, but time-dependent, blueshift of the Pioneer 10/11 spacecrafts within the framework of NLED. Here we show that astrophysical data on the strength of the magnetic field in both the Galaxy and the local (super)cluster of galaxies support the view on the major Pioneer anomaly as a consequence of the phenomenon of photon acceleration. If confirmed, through further observations or lab experiments, the reality of this phenomenon should prompt to take it into account in any forthcoming research on both cosmological evolution and origin and dynamical effects of primordial magnetic fields, whose seeds are estimated to be very weak.

95.55.Pe - Lunar, planetary, and deep-space probes .
04.80.-y - Experimental studies of gravity .
98.80.-k - Cosmology .

© Europhysics Letters Association 2007