Interstellar Boundary Explorer measurements and magnetic field in the vicinity of the heliopause

Nikolai V. Pogorelov, Jacob Heerikhuisen, Gary P. Zank, Sergey N. Borovikov, Priscilla C. Frisch, David J. McComas

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63 Scopus citations


The combination of the Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) all-sky maps of the energetic neutral atom (ENA) fluxes with the Voyager in situ measurements provides a unique opportunity to learn about the physics governing the solar wind interaction with the local interstellar medium. The first IBEX results revealed a sky-spanning "ribbon" of unexpectedly intense emissions of ENAs that had not been predicted previously by any physical model. A number of explanations were proposed to explain the IBEX ribbon, some of them associated with the distribution of the interstellar magnetic field (ISMF) coupled with the interplanetary magnetic field at the heliopause. The position of the ribbon in the sky correlates with the line-of-sight directions perpendicular to the modeled ISMF. In this paper, we analyze such distributions for a variety of ISMF strengths and directions in order to reveal the topology of the surface that may potentially contain the ENA sources creating the ribbon. We also analyze the distributions of total pressure exerted on the heliopause as a result of its draping by the ISMF. The effects of solar cycle variations on the ribbon topology are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1 2011
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • ISM: kinematics and dynamics
  • ISM: magnetic fields
  • magnetohydrodynamics (MHD)
  • shock waves
  • solar wind


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