First results from the Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) mission

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) is a Small Explorer mission designed to study the global interaction between the heliosphere and the local interstellar medium. IBEX does this by measuring energetic neutral atoms (ENAs) created by both solar wind ions and pickup ions in the solar wind when they charge exchange with cold interstellar neutrals drifting in from the interstellar medium. Because the ENAs are not magnetically confined, some of them propagate back into the inner heliosphere, where IBEX can detect them. IBEX was launched October 19th 2008, using a new launch technique that was also developed as a part of the IBEX project. The first scientific observations from IBEX were of ENAs coming from the Moon - these represented the first ever lunar ENA observations from any spacecraft and provided important information about the universal physical processes of backscatter and neutralization from complex planetary surfaces like the lunar regolith. Since then, IBEX has been collecting its first all-sky maps of heliospheric ENAs and initial direct, in situ observations of interstellar H, He, and O. At the time of this writing, these observations have been submitted and are under review for a special IBEX section of Science magazine nominally scheduled to be published in October 2009.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationTwelfth International Solar Wind Conference
Number of pages4
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes
Event12th International Solar Wind Conference - Saint-Malo, France
Duration: Jun 21 2009Jun 26 2009

Publication series

NameAIP Conference Proceedings
ISSN (Print)0094-243X
ISSN (Electronic)1551-7616


Conference12th International Solar Wind Conference

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


  • ENA
  • Heliosphere
  • IBEX
  • Interstellar medium


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