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Title: Probing the Length of the Heliospheric Tail with Energetic Neutral Atoms (ENAs) from 0.52 to 80 keV

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 80 keV, where the cooling length (∼600 au) is greater than the distance where the long- and short-heliotail models differ (∼400 au), and find that IMAP-Ultra should be able to identify the shape of the heliotail, predicting differences in the north lobe to downwind flux ratio between the models at 48%.

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DOI PREFIX: 10.3847
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Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal Letters
Medium: X Size: Article No. L15
Article No. L15
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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