Low energy neutral atoms from the heliosheath

S. A. Fuselier, F. Allegrini, M. Bzowski, M. A. Dayeh, M. Desai, H. O. Funsten, A. Galli, D. Heirtzler, P. Janzen, M. A. Kubiak, H. Kucharek, W. Lewis, G. Livadiotis, D. J. McComas, E. Möbius, S. M. Petrinec, M. Quinn, N. Schwadron, J. M. Sokół, K. J. TrattnerB. E. Wood, P. Wurz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


In the heliosheath beyond the termination shock, low energy (<0.5 keV) neutral atoms are created by charge exchange with interstellar neutrals. Detecting these neutrals from Earth's orbit is difficult because their flux is reduced substantially by ionization losses as they propagate from about 100 to 1 AU and because there are a variety of other signals and backgrounds that compete with this weak signal. Observations from IBEX-Lo and -Hi from two opposing vantage points in Earth's orbit established a lower energy limit of about 0.1 keV on measurements of energetic neutral atoms (ENAs) from the heliosphere and the form of the energy spectrum from about 0.1 to 6 keV in two directions in the sky. Below 0.1 keV, the detailed ENA spectrum is not known, and IBEX provides only upper limits on the fluxes. However, using some assumptions and taking constraints on the spectrum into account, we find indications that the spectrum turns over at an energy between 0.1 and 0.2 keV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number89
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2014
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • ISM: atoms
  • Sun: heliosphere
  • plasmas
  • solar wind


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