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- Space Science Reviews
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Interstellar Neutrals, Pickup Ions, and Energetic Neutral Atoms Throughout the Heliosphere: Present Theory and Modeling OverviewAbstract Interstellar neutrals (ISNs), pick-up ions (PUIs), and energetic neutral atoms (ENAs) are fundamental constituents of the heliosphere and its interaction with the neighboring interstellar medium. Here, we focus on selected aspects of present-day theory and modeling of these particles. In the last decades, progress in the understanding of the role of PUIs and ENAs for the global heliosphere and its interaction with very local interstellar medium is impressive and still growing. The increasing number of measurements allows for verification and continuing development of the theories and model attempts. We present an overview of various model descriptions of the heliosphere and the processes throughout it including the kinetic, fluid, and hybrid solutions. We also discuss topics in which interplay between theory, models, and interpretation of measurements reveals the complexity of the heliosphere and its understanding. They include model-based interpretation of the ISN, PUI, and ENA measurements conducted from the Earth’s vicinity. In addition, we describe selected processes beyond the Earth’s orbit up to the heliosphere boundary regions, where PUIs significantly contribute to the complex system of the global heliosphere and its interaction with the VLISM.
Exploring turbulence from the Sun to the local interstellar medium: Current challenges and perspectives for future space missionsTurbulence is ubiquitous in space plasmas. It is one of the most important subjects in heliospheric physics, as it plays a fundamental role in the solar wind—local interstellar medium interaction and in controlling energetic particle transport and acceleration processes. Understanding the properties of turbulence in various regions of the heliosphere with vastly different conditions can lead to answers to many unsolved questions opened up by observations of the magnetic field, plasma, pickup ions, energetic particles, radio and UV emissions, and so on. Several space missions have helped us gain preliminary knowledge on turbulence in the outer heliosphere and the very local interstellar medium. Among the past few missions, the Voyagers have paved the way for such investigations. This paper summarizes the open challenges and voices our support for the development of future missions dedicated to the study of turbulence throughout the heliosphere and beyond.
We present here the first of a series of papers aimed at better understanding the evolution and properties of giant molecular clouds (GMCs) in a galactic context. We perform high-resolution, three-dimensional arepo simulations of an interacting galaxy inspired by the well-observed M51 galaxy. Our fiducial simulations include a non-equilibrium, time-dependent, chemical network that follows the evolution of atomic and molecular hydrogen as well as carbon and oxygen self-consistently. Our calculations also treat gas self-gravity and subsequent star formation (described by sink particles), and coupled supernova feedback. In the densest parts of the simulated interstellar medium (ISM), we reach sub-parsec resolution, granting us the ability to resolve individual GMCs and their formation and destruction self-consistently throughout the galaxy. In this initial work, we focus on the general properties of the ISM with a particular focus on the cold star-forming gas. We discuss the role of the interaction with the companion galaxy in generating cold molecular gas and controlling stellar birth. We find that while the interaction drives large-scale gas flows and induces spiral arms in the galaxy, it is of secondary importance in determining gas fractions in the different ISM phases and the overall star formation rate. The behaviour ofmore »
Abstract Interstellar pickup ions are an ubiquitous and thermodynamically important component of the solar wind plasma in the heliosphere. These PUIs are born from the ionization of the interstellar neutral gas, consisting of hydrogen, helium, and trace amounts of heavier elements, in the solar wind as the heliosphere moves through the local interstellar medium. As cold interstellar neutral atoms become ionized, they form an energetic ring beam distribution comoving with the solar wind. Subsequent scattering in pitch angle by intrinsic and self-generated turbulence and their advection with the radially expanding solar wind leads to the formation of a filled-shell PUI distribution, whose density and pressure relative to the thermal solar wind ions grows with distance from the Sun. This paper reviews the history of in situ measurements of interstellar PUIs in the heliosphere. Starting with the first detection in the 1980s, interstellar PUIs were identified by their highly nonthermal distribution with a cutoff at twice the solar wind speed. Measurements of the PUI distribution shell cutoff and the He focusing cone, a downwind region of increased density formed by the solar gravity, have helped characterize the properties of the interstellar gas from near-Earth vantage points. The preferential heating of interstellar PUIsmore »
Context. Supersonic disordered flows accompany the formation and evolution of molecular clouds (MCs). It has been argued that this is turbulence that can support against gravitational collapse and form hierarchical sub-structures. Aims. We examine the time evolution of simulated MCs to investigate: What physical process dominates the driving of turbulent flows? How can these flows be characterised? Are they consistent with uniform turbulence or gravitational collapse? Do the simulated flows agree with observations? Methods. We analysed three MCs that have formed self-consistently within kiloparsec-scale numerical simulations of the interstellar medium (ISM). The simulated ISM evolves under the influence of physical processes including self-gravity, stratification, magnetic fields, supernova-driven turbulence, and radiative heating and cooling. We characterise the flows using velocity structure functions (VSFs) with and without density weighting or a density cutoff, and computed in one or three dimensions. However, we do not include optical depth effects that can hide motions in the densest gas, limiting comparison of our results with observations. Results. In regions with sufficient resolution, the density-weighted VSFs initially appear to follow the expectations for uniform turbulence, with a first-order power-law exponent consistent with Larson’s size-velocity relationship. Supernova blast wave impacts on MCs produce short-lived coherent motions atmore »