Observation of the distribution of heavy neutral atoms in the IBEX-Lo all-sky maps

Monday, 15 December 2014
Jeewoo Park, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH, United States, Harald Kucharek, Univ New Hampshire, Durham, NH, United States and Eberhard Moebius, University of New Hampshire, Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans and Space, and Department of Physics, Durham, NH, United States
We investigate the spatial distribution of heavy energetic neutral atoms, mostly oxygen and neon, in the sky maps taken with the Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) in 2009 - 2011. The IBEX-Lo sensor, one of two highly sensitive single-pixel cameras on the IBEX spacecraft, measures neutral particles within an energy range from 0.01 to 2 keV. In the time-of-flight detector of IBEX-Lo these neutral atoms can be identified as hydrogen or heavier atoms, such as oxygen. These measurements have provided all-sky maps of neutral hydrogen and oxygen. The dominant feature in these maps is the interstellar oxygen and neon gas flow. Its peak location is approximately consistent with the interstellar helium gas flow (Möbius et al., 2009, Science, 326, 969). The flow distribution is distributed over 210° - 240° ecliptic longitude and −6° - 12° ecliptic latitude. Another prominent feature in the oxygen sky maps at 0.2 to 0.8 keV is an extended tail of the oxygen signal toward lower longitude and higher positive latitude (180° - 210° ecliptic longitude and 0° - 24° ecliptic latitude). The measured peak rates in the extended tail is 3 – 5% of the maximum count rate in the primary oxygen and neon gas flow, but is four times higher than any other surrounding oxygen signals. The extended tail may indicate the secondary component of the interstellar oxygen, which is likely generated by charge exchange between local O+ ions and interstellar neutral H in the outer heliosheath. In this poster, we will discuss these two most prominent features in the oxygen sky maps and their implications for the source and the mechanism generating an extended tail in the oxygen signal.