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Title: VARIATIONS IN THE HELIOSPHERIC POLAR ENERGETIC NEUTRAL ATOM FLUX OBSERVED BY THE INTERSTELLAR BOUNDARY EXPLORER

Abstract

The ecliptic poles are observed continuously by the Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX); thus, it is possible to discern temporal variations in the energetic neutral atoms (ENAs) from the outer heliosphere on timescales much shorter than the time it takes for IBEX to generate a full sky map (six months). Observations indicate that the ENA flux from the polar directions incident at Earth has been steadily decreasing for the two-year period from 2008 December through 2011 February. Over the IBEX-Hi energy range, the decrease in flux is energy dependent, varying at the south ecliptic pole from no drop at 0.71 keV, to 70% at 1.1 keV. At higher energies the drop ranges between 10% and 50%. The decline observed at the north ecliptic pole is as high as 48%, also at 1.1 keV. The trend correlates with the steady decline in solar wind dynamic pressure observed at 1 AU between 2005 and 2009, the likely period when solar wind protons that provide the source for ENAs observed by IBEX would have been outbound from the Sun. We propose a method by which the correlation between the 1 AU solar wind dynamic pressure and the ENA-derived pressure within the inner heliosheath (IHS)more » can be used to estimate the distance to the termination shock and the thickness of the IHS in the direction of the ecliptic poles. Our new analysis based on IBEX data shows the TS distances to be 110 AU and 134 AU at the south and north poles, respectively, and the corresponding IHS thicknesses to be 55 AU and 82 AU. Our analysis is consistent with the notion that the observed ENA fluxes originate in the IHS and their variations are driven by the solar wind as it evolves through the solar cycle.« less

Authors:
;  [1]; ;
  1. Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Montana, Missoula, MT (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22016222
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Journal Name:
Astrophysical Journal
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 747; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); Journal ID: ISSN 0004-637X
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ENERGY DEPENDENCE; HELIOSPHERE; MAGNETOHYDRODYNAMICS; PROTONS; SOLAR CYCLE; SOLAR WIND; SUN

Citation Formats

Reisenfeld, D B, Janzen, P H, Allegrini, F, McComas, D. J., E-mail: dan.reisenfeld@umontana.edu, E-mail: paul.janzen@umontana.edu, E-mail: fallegrini@swri.edu, E-mail: dmccomas@swri.org, and others, and. VARIATIONS IN THE HELIOSPHERIC POLAR ENERGETIC NEUTRAL ATOM FLUX OBSERVED BY THE INTERSTELLAR BOUNDARY EXPLORER. United States: N. p., 2012. Web. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/747/2/110.
Reisenfeld, D B, Janzen, P H, Allegrini, F, McComas, D. J., E-mail: dan.reisenfeld@umontana.edu, E-mail: paul.janzen@umontana.edu, E-mail: fallegrini@swri.edu, E-mail: dmccomas@swri.org, & others, and. VARIATIONS IN THE HELIOSPHERIC POLAR ENERGETIC NEUTRAL ATOM FLUX OBSERVED BY THE INTERSTELLAR BOUNDARY EXPLORER. United States. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/747/2/110.
Reisenfeld, D B, Janzen, P H, Allegrini, F, McComas, D. J., E-mail: dan.reisenfeld@umontana.edu, E-mail: paul.janzen@umontana.edu, E-mail: fallegrini@swri.edu, E-mail: dmccomas@swri.org, and others, and. Sat . "VARIATIONS IN THE HELIOSPHERIC POLAR ENERGETIC NEUTRAL ATOM FLUX OBSERVED BY THE INTERSTELLAR BOUNDARY EXPLORER". United States. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/747/2/110.
@article{osti_22016222,
title = {VARIATIONS IN THE HELIOSPHERIC POLAR ENERGETIC NEUTRAL ATOM FLUX OBSERVED BY THE INTERSTELLAR BOUNDARY EXPLORER},
author = {Reisenfeld, D B and Janzen, P H and Allegrini, F and McComas, D. J., E-mail: dan.reisenfeld@umontana.edu, E-mail: paul.janzen@umontana.edu, E-mail: fallegrini@swri.edu, E-mail: dmccomas@swri.org and others, and},
abstractNote = {The ecliptic poles are observed continuously by the Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX); thus, it is possible to discern temporal variations in the energetic neutral atoms (ENAs) from the outer heliosphere on timescales much shorter than the time it takes for IBEX to generate a full sky map (six months). Observations indicate that the ENA flux from the polar directions incident at Earth has been steadily decreasing for the two-year period from 2008 December through 2011 February. Over the IBEX-Hi energy range, the decrease in flux is energy dependent, varying at the south ecliptic pole from no drop at 0.71 keV, to 70% at 1.1 keV. At higher energies the drop ranges between 10% and 50%. The decline observed at the north ecliptic pole is as high as 48%, also at 1.1 keV. The trend correlates with the steady decline in solar wind dynamic pressure observed at 1 AU between 2005 and 2009, the likely period when solar wind protons that provide the source for ENAs observed by IBEX would have been outbound from the Sun. We propose a method by which the correlation between the 1 AU solar wind dynamic pressure and the ENA-derived pressure within the inner heliosheath (IHS) can be used to estimate the distance to the termination shock and the thickness of the IHS in the direction of the ecliptic poles. Our new analysis based on IBEX data shows the TS distances to be 110 AU and 134 AU at the south and north poles, respectively, and the corresponding IHS thicknesses to be 55 AU and 82 AU. Our analysis is consistent with the notion that the observed ENA fluxes originate in the IHS and their variations are driven by the solar wind as it evolves through the solar cycle.},
doi = {10.1088/0004-637X/747/2/110},
journal = {Astrophysical Journal},
issn = {0004-637X},
number = 2,
volume = 747,
place = {United States},
year = {2012},
month = {3}
}