Heliospheric and Interstellar Phenomena Deduced From Pickup ion Observations
Source: Space Science Reviews, Volume 97, Numbers 1-4, 2001 , pp. 169-181(13)
Abstract:Pickup ions, created by ionization of slow moving atoms and molecules well inside the heliosphere, provide us with a new tool to probe remote regions in and beyond the heliosphere and to study injection and acceleration processes in the solar wind. Comprehensive and continuous measurements of H, He, C, N, O, Ne and other pickup ions, especially with the Solar Wind Ion Composition Spectrometer (SWICS) on both Ulysses and ACE, have given us a wealth of data that have been used to infer chemical and physical properties of the local interstellar cloud. With SWICS on Ulysses we discovered a new population of pickup ions, produced from atomic and molecular sources deep inside the heliosphere. The velocity distributions and composition of these ``inner source'' pickup ions are distinctly different from those of interstellar pickup ions, showing effects of strong adiabatic cooling, and a composition resembling that of the solar wind. Strong cooling indicates that the source of these pickup ions lies close to the Sun. The similarity of composition of inner source heavy ions to that of the solar wind implies that the dominant production mechanism for these pickup ions involves the absorption and re-emission of solar wind from interplanetary dust grains. While interstellar pickup ions are the seed population of the main Anomalous Cosmic Rays (ACRs), inner source pickup ions may be an important source of the rarer ACRs such as C, Mg, Si, S, and Fe. We present new results and review previous work with an emphasis on characteristics of the local interstellar cloud and properties of the inner source.
Document Type: Regular Paper
Publication date: January 1, 2001