Updated analysis of the upwind interplanetary hydrogen velocity as observed by the Hubble Space Telescope during solar cycle 23

Frédéric E. Vincent, Lotfi Ben-Jaffel, Walter M. Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

The interplanetary hydrogen (IPH), a population of neutrals that fill the space between planets inside the heliosphere, carries the signature of the interstellar medium (ISM) and the heliospheric interface. As the incoming ISM-ionized component deflects at the heliopause, charge exchange reactions decelerate the bulk motion of the neutrals that penetrate the heliosphere. Inside the heliosphere, the IPH bulk velocity is further affected by solar gravity, radiation pressure, and ionization processes, with the latter two processes dependent on solar activity. Solar cycle 23 provided the first partial temporal map of the IPH velocity, including measurements from the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) spectrometers (Goddard High Resolution Spectrograph (GHRS) and Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS)) and the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory/Solar Wind ANisotropies (SWAN) instrument. We present an updated analysis of IPH velocity measurements from GHRS and STIS and compare these results with those of SWAN and two different time-dependent models. Our reanalysis of STIS data reveals a significant change in IPH velocity relative to earlier reports, because of the contamination by geocoronal oxygen that was not accounted for. While current models of the heliospheric interface predict the observed IPH velocity for solar maximum, they are not consistent with data covering solar minimum. With updates to the HST data points, we now find that all data can be fit by the existing models to within 1σ, with the exception of SWAN observations taken at solar minimum (1997/1998). We conclude that the current data lack the temporal coverage and/or precision necessary to determine the detailed characteristics of the solar cycle dependence. Hence, new observations are merited.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number135
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume738
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 10 2011
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Sun: activity
  • interplanetary medium
  • ultraviolet: ISM

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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