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Title: STRUCTURE OF THE INTERSTELLAR BOUNDARY EXPLORER RIBBON FROM SECONDARY CHARGE-EXCHANGE AT THE SOLAR–INTERSTELLAR INTERFACE

In 2009, the Interstellar Boundary Explorer discovered a bright “ribbon” of energetic neutral atom (ENA) flux in the energy range ≤0.4–6 keV, encircling a large portion of the sky. This observation was not previously predicted by any models or theories, and since its discovery, it has been the subject of numerous studies of its origin and properties. One of the most studied mechanisms for its creation is the “secondary ENA” process. Here, solar wind ions, neutralized by charge-exchange with interstellar atoms, propagate outside the heliopause; experience two charge-exchange events in the dense outer heliosheath; and then propagate back inside the heliosphere, preferentially in the direction perpendicular to the local interstellar magnetic field. This process has been extensively analyzed using state-of-the-art modeling and simulation techniques, but it has been difficult to visualize. In this Letter, we show the three-dimensional structure of the source of the ribbon, providing a physical picture of the spatial and energy scales over which the secondary ENA process occurs. These results help us understand how the ribbon is generated and further supports a secondary ENA process as the leading ribbon source mechanism.
Authors:
;  [1] ;  [2]
  1. Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, TX 78228 (United States)
  2. Department of Space Science and Center for Space Plasma and Aeronomic Research, University of Alabama in Huntsville, Huntsville, AL 35899 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22518984
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal Letters; Journal Volume: 804; Journal Issue: 1; 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; HELIOSPHERE; INTERFACES; INTERSTELLAR MAGNETIC FIELDS; INTERSTELLAR SPACE; IONS; KEV RANGE; SKY; SOLAR WIND; SUN