The shape of the heliosphere is currently under active debate. Energetic neutral atoms (ENAs) offer the best method for investigating the global structure of the heliosphere. To date, the Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) and the Ion and Neutral Camera (INCA) that was on board Cassini provide the only global ENA observations of the heliosphere. While extensive modeling has been done at IBEX-Hi energies (0.52–6 keV), no global ENA modeling has been conducted for INCA energies (5.2–55 keV). Here, we use an ENA model of the heliosphere based on hybrid results that capture the heating and acceleration of pickup ions (PUIs) at the termination shock to compare modeled global ENA results with IBEX-Hi and INCA observations using both a long- and short-tail model of the heliosphere. We find that the modeled ENA results for the two heliotail configurations produce similar results from the IBEX-Hi through the INCA energies. We conclude from our modeled ENAs, which only include PUI acceleration at the termination shock, that ENA observations in currently available energy ranges are insufficient for probing the shape and length of the heliotail. However, as a prediction for the future IMAP-Ultra mission (3–300 keV) we present modeled ENA maps at 80more »
Interstellar neutral atoms propagating into the heliosphere experience charge exchange with the supersonic solar wind (SW) plasma, generating ions that are picked up by the SW. These pickup ions (PUIs) constitute ∼25% of the proton number density by the time they reach the heliospheric termination shock (HTS). Preferential acceleration of PUIs at the HTS leads to a suprathermal, kappa-like PUI distribution in the heliosheath, which may be further heated in the heliosheath by traveling shocks or pressure waves. In this study, we utilize a dynamic, 3D magnetohydrodynamic model of the heliosphere to show that dynamic heating of PUIs at the HTS and in the inner heliosheath (IHS), as well as a background source of energetic neutral atoms (ENAs) from outside the heliopause, can explain the heliospheric ENA signal observed by the Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) in the Voyager 2 direction. We show that the PUI heating process at the HTS is characterized by a polytropic index larger than 5/3, likely ranging between
- Publication Date:
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Journal Name:
- The Astrophysical Journal Letters
- Page Range or eLocation-ID:
- Article No. L38
- DOI PREFIX: 10.3847
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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