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  1. Abstract

    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 »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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  2. Abstract Our understanding of the interaction of the large-scale heliosphere with the local interstellar medium (LISM) has undergone a profound change since the very earliest analyses of the problem. In part, the revisions have been a consequence of ever-improving and widening observational results, especially those that identified the entrance of interstellar material and gas into the heliosphere. Accompanying these observations was the identification of the basic underlying physics of how neutral interstellar gas and interstellar charged particles of different energies, up to and including interstellar dust grains, interacted with the temporal flows and electromagnetic fields of the heliosphere. The incorporation of these various basic effects into global models of the interaction, whether focused on neutral interstellar gas and pickup ions, energetic particles such as anomalous and galactic cosmic rays, or magnetic fields and large-scale flows, has profoundly changed our view of how the heliosphere and LISM interact. This article presents a brief history of the conceptual and observation evolution of our understanding of the interaction of the heliosphere with the local interstellar medium, up until approximately 1996.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023