Interstellar Neutral Helium in the Heliosphere from IBEX Observations. VI. The He+ Density and the Ionization State in the Very Local Interstellar Matter

Academic Article


  • Interstellar neutral gas atoms penetrate the heliopause and reach 1~au, where they are detected by IBEX. The flow of neutral interstellar helium through the perturbed interstellar plasma in the outer heliosheath (OHS) results in creation of the secondary population of interstellar He atoms, the so-called Warm Breeze, due to charge exchange with perturbed ions. The secondary population brings the imprint of the OHS conditions to the IBEX-Lo instrument. Based on a global simulation of the heliosphere with measurement-based parameters and detailed kinetic simulation of the filtration of He in the OHS, we find the number density of interstellar He$^+$ population at $(8.98\pm 0.12)\times 10^{-3}$~cm$^{-3}$. With this, we obtain the absolute density of interstellar H$^+$ $5.4\times 10^{-2}$~cm$^{-3}$ and electrons $6.3\times 10^{-2}$~cm$^{-3}$, and ionization degrees of H 0.26 and He 0.37. The results agree with estimates of the Very Local Interstellar Matter parameters obtained from fitting the observed spectra of diffuse interstellar EUV and soft X-Ray background.
  • Authors

  • Bzowski, M
  • Czechowski, A
  • Frisch, PC
  • Fuselier, SA
  • Galli, A
  • Grygorczuk, J
  • Heerikhuisen, J
  • Kubiak, MA
  • Kucharek, H
  • McComas, DJ
  • Mobius, E
  • Schwadron, Nathan
  • Slavin, J
  • Sokol, JM
  • Swaczyna, P
  • Wurz, P
  • Zirnstein, EJ
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • September 1, 2019
  • Has Subject Area


  • ISM: abundances
  • ISM: atoms
  • ISM: clouds
  • ISM: magnetic fields
  • Sun: heliosphere
  • local interstellar matter
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 60
  • End Page

  • 60
  • Volume

  • 882
  • Issue

  • 1