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Title: Instability of the heliopause driven by charge exchange interactions

The stability of the heliopause that separates the tenuous hot magnetized heliosheath plasma from the dense cool local interstellar magnetized plasma is examined using a fully general model that includes all the essential physical processes. Charge exchange coupling between plasma protons and primary interstellar neutral atoms provides an effective gravity that drives Rayleigh-Taylor (RT)-like instabilities. The velocity difference or shear between the heliosheath and interstellar flows, when coupled to energetic neutral atoms (ENAs), drives a Kelvin-Helmholtz (KH)-like instability on the heliopause. The shoulder region of the heliopause is unstable to a new instability that has characteristics of a mixed RT-KH-like mode. The instabilities are not stabilized by typical values of the magnetic fields in the inner and outer heliosheath (OHS). ENAs play an essential role in driving the KH-like instability, which is fully stabilized in their absence by magnetic fields. The nonlinear phase of these instabilities is briefly discussed. We also discuss the possibility that RT-like or mixed KH-RT-like instabilities drag outer heliosheath/very local interstellar medium (OHS/VLISM) magnetic field lines into the inner heliosheath (IHS) with the VLISM flow, and the possibility that IHS and VLISM magnetic field lines experience reconnection. Such reconnection may (1) greatly enhance the mixing ofmore » plasmas across the heliopause and (2) provide open magnetic field lines that allow easy ingress of galactic cosmic rays into the heliosphere and corresponding easy loss of anomalous cosmic rays from the heliosphere.« less
Authors:
; ;  [1] ;  [2]
  1. Center for Space Plasma and Aeronomic Research (CSPAR), University of Alabama in Huntsville, Huntsville, AL 35805 (United States)
  2. Department of Physics and Astrophysics, University of Delhi, Delhi, 110007 (India)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22365311
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 791; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ATOMS; CHARGE EXCHANGE; CHARGE-EXCHANGE INTERACTIONS; COSMIC RADIATION; COUPLING; GRAVITATION; HELIOSPHERE; INSTABILITY; INTERSTELLAR SPACE; MAGNETIC FIELDS; MAGNETIC RECONNECTION; NONLINEAR PROBLEMS; PLASMA; PROTONS; STABILITY; SUN; VELOCITY