Spectral properties of 0.5-6 keV energetic neutral atoms measured by the interstellar boundary explorer (IBEX) along the lines of sight of voyager

M. I. Desai, F. A. Allegrini, M. A. Dayeh, B. De Majistre, H. Funsten, J. Heerikhuisen, D. J. McComas, N. Pogorelov, N. A. Schwadron, G. P. Zank

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Scopus citations

Abstract

Energetic neutral atoms (ENAs) observed by the Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) provide powerful diagnostics about the origin of the progenitor ion populations and the physical mechanisms responsible for their production. Here we survey the fluxes, energy spectra, and energy dependence of the spectral indices of ∼0.5-6keV ENAs measured by IBEX-Hi along the lines of sight of Voyager 1 and 2. We compare the ENA spectra observed at IBEX with predictions of Zank etal. who modeled the microphysics of the heliospheric termination shock to predict the shape and relative contributions of three distinct heliosheath ion populations. We show that (1) the ENA spectral indices exhibit similar energy dependence along V1 and V2 directions - the spectrum hardens to γ 1 between 1 and 2keV and softens to γ 2 below 1keV and above 2keV, (2) the observed ENA fluxes agree to within 50% of the Zank etal. predictions and are unlikely to be produced by core solar wind (SW) ions, and (3) the ENA spectra do not exhibit sharp cutoffs at twice the SW speed as is typically observed for shell-like pickup ion (PUI) distributions in the heliosphere. We conclude that ENAs at IBEX are generated by at least two types of ion populations whose relative contributions depend on the ENA energy: transmitted PUIs in the ∼0.5-5keV energy range and reflected PUIs above ∼5keV energy. The ∼0.5-5keV PUI distribution is probably a superposition of Maxwellian or kappa distributions and partially filled shell distributions in velocity space.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL30
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Volume749
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 20 2012
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

Keywords

  • ISM: atoms
  • Sun: heliosphere
  • magnetohydrodynamics (MHD)
  • shock waves
  • solar wind

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Spectral properties of 0.5-6 keV energetic neutral atoms measured by the interstellar boundary explorer (IBEX) along the lines of sight of voyager'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Desai, M. I., Allegrini, F. A., Dayeh, M. A., De Majistre, B., Funsten, H., Heerikhuisen, J., McComas, D. J., Pogorelov, N., Schwadron, N. A., & Zank, G. P. (2012). Spectral properties of 0.5-6 keV energetic neutral atoms measured by the interstellar boundary explorer (IBEX) along the lines of sight of voyager. Astrophysical Journal Letters, 749(2), [L30]. https://doi.org/10.1088/2041-8205/749/2/L30