- Conference date: 8-13 February 2004
- Location: Riverside, California (USA)
Interstellar pickup ions are dynamically important in the outer heliosphere where they mass‐load and heat the solar wind. Some of these pickup ions are transformed into energetic neutral atoms (ENAs) by charge exchange with the residual cold interstellar gas that is the primary constituent of the outer heliosphere. The most detailed measurements of interstellar pickup ions in the heliosphere are currently available only between ∼1 and ∼5 AU. Among the most interesting and least expected observations are those of ubiquitous suprathermal tails on the distribution of pickup and solar wind protons and all heavier ions that can be measured. Here we report new measurements of solar wind proton and alpha particle distributions and of pickup He+ spectra upstream and downstream of Jupiter’s bow shock. We find that in the magnetosheath, 27% of the total pickup H+ density is in the tail portion of the distribution, compared to only 0.4% in the upstream spectrum. For He+ the entire core distribution is apparently heated in crossing the shock. These results have important implications for particle acceleration at the heliospheric termination shock, and for predicting the fluxes of energetic neutral atoms in the inner heliosphere produced from solar wind and pickup ions heated and accelerated at the termination shock.
Data & Media loading...
Article metrics loading...