Breathing of the Heliosphere

Justyna M. Sokól, Maher A. Dayeh, Stephen A. Fuselier, Georgios Nicolaou, D. J. McComas, E. J. Zirnstein

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8 Scopus citations


In late 2016, the Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) observed an enhancement of hydrogen energetic neutral atom (ENA) flux in ~20 south from the nose direction. This enhancement was a consequence of an abrupt increase of the solar wind (SW) dynamic pressure observed at 1 au in late 2014. In subsequent years, the increased flux of 4.3 keV ENAs was observed at higher latitudes filling in the heliosheath, in ENAs at lower energies, and the Ribbon flux. We observe that the rapid increase of SW pressure occurs every solar cycle (SC) from the beginning of the regular in situ SW measurements in the ecliptic plane. The SW pressure pulse happens about 4.7 yr from the beginning of each SC, it is during the maximum phase of solar activity, and repeats with a period of ~10.2 yr. These repeating pulses of the SW pressure can cause periodic SC variations of the ENA production in the heliosheath. We follow McComas et al. results for the relation between SW pressure increase and ENA flux enhancement to investigate the periodic SW pressure increases and their consequences for the heliosphere. Our study of time delay between the cause (pressure pulse at 1 au) and the consequence (ENA enhancement) show that IBEX observed in 2009-2011 remnants of the SW pressure pulse that happened during the maximum of SC 23.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number250
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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