The Role of Pickup Ion Dynamics Outside of the Heliopause in the Limit of Weak Pitch Angle Scattering: Implications for the Source of the IBEX Ribbon

E. J. Zirnstein, J. Heerikhuisen, M. A. Dayeh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations

Abstract

We present a new model of the Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) ribbon based on the secondary energetic neutral atom (ENA) mechanism, under the assumption that there is negligible pitch angle scattering of pickup ions (PUIs) outside the heliopause. Using the results of an MHD-plasma/kinetic-neutral simulation of the heliosphere, we generate PUIs in the outer heliosheath, solve their transport using guiding center theory, and compute ribbon ENA fluxes at 1 au. We implement several aspects of the PUI dynamics, including (1) parallel motion along the local interstellar magnetic field (ISMF), (2) advective transport with the interstellar plasma, (3) the mirror force acting on PUIs propagating along the ISMF, and (4) betatron acceleration of PUIs as they are advected within an increasing magnetic field toward the heliopause. We find that ENA fluxes at 1 au are reduced when PUIs are allowed to move along the ISMF, and ENA fluxes are reduced even more by the inclusion of the mirror force, which pushes particles away from IBEX lines of sight. Inclusion of advection and betatron acceleration do not result in any significant change in the ribbon. Interestingly, the mirror force reduces the ENA fluxes from the inner edge of the ribbon more than those from its outer edge, effectively reducing the ribbon's width by ∼6° and increasing its radius projected on the sky. This is caused by the asymmetric draping of the ISMF around the heliopause, such that ENAs from the ribbon's inner edge originate closer to the heliopause, where the mirror force is strongest.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number30
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume855
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

Keywords

  • ISM: atoms
  • ISM: magnetic fields
  • solar wind
  • Sun: heliosphere

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