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Title: On the stability of pick-up ion ring distributions in the outer heliosheath

The 'secondary energetic neutral atom (ENA)' hypothesis for the ribbon feature observed by the Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) posits that the neutral component of the solar wind continues beyond the heliopause and charge exchanges with interstellar ions in the Outer Heliosheath (OHS). This creates pick-up ions that gyrate about the draped interstellar magnetic field (ISMF) lines at pitch angles near 90° on the locus where the ISMF lies tangential to the heliopause and perpendicular to the heliocentric radial direction. This location closely coincides with the location of the ribbon feature according to the prevailing inferences of the ISMF orientation and draping. The locally gyrating ions undergo additional charge exchange and escape as free-flying neutral atoms, many of which travel back toward the inner solar system and are imaged by IBEX as a ribbon tracing out the locus described above. For this mechanism to succeed, the pick-up ions must diffuse in pitch angle slowly enough to permit secondary charge exchange before their pitch angle distribution substantially broadens away from 90°. Previous work using linear Vlasov dispersion analysis of parallel propagating waves has suggested that the ring distribution in the OHS is highly unstable, which, if true, would make the secondary ENAmore » hypothesis incapable of rendering the observed ribbon. In this paper, we extend this earlier work to more realistic ring distribution functions. We find that, at the low densities necessary to produce the observed IBEX ribbon via the secondary ENA hypothesis, growth rates are highly sensitive to the temperature of the beam and that even very modest temperatures of the ring beam corresponding to beam widths of <1° are sufficient to damp the self-generated waves associated with the ring beam. Thus, at least from the perspective of linear Vlasov dispersion analysis of parallel propagating waves, there is no reason to expect that the ring distributions necessary to produce the observed IBEX ENA flux via the secondary ENA hypothesis will be unstable to their own self-generated turbulence.« less
Authors:
; ; ; ;  [1]
  1. Heliophysics Science Division, NASAs Goddard Space Flight Center, 8800 Greenbelt Road, Greenbelt, MD (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22370570
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 793; 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; BEAM PROFILES; CHARGE EXCHANGE; DENSITY; DISPERSIONS; DISTRIBUTION; HELIOSPHERE; HYPOTHESIS; INCLINATION; INTERSTELLAR MAGNETIC FIELDS; IONS; PLASMA; RINGS; SCATTERING; SOLAR SYSTEM; SOLAR WIND; STABILITY; SUN; TURBULENCE