A Heliosphere Buffeted by Interstellar Turbulence?

Monday, 15 December 2014: 5:15 PM
Jack R Jokipii and Joe Giacalone, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, United States
Recent observations from IBEX combined with previous measurements from other sources suggest new, local, effects of interstellar turbulence. Observations of various interstellar parameters such as the magnetic field, fluid velocity and electron density, over large spatial scales, have revealed a broadband Kolmogorov spectrum of interstellar turbulence which pervades most of interstellar space. The outer scale (or coherence scale of this turbulence) is found to be approximately 10^19 cm and the inner cutoff scale is less than 1000 km. The root-mean-square relative fluctuation in the fluid and the magnetic-field parameters is of order unity. If this turbulence exists at the heliosphere, the root-mean-square relative fluctuations at 100 (heliospheric) AU scales is approximately 0.1. The recently published value for the change In observed velocity direction for the interstellar flow relative to the heliosphere (Frisch, etal, 2014)is consistent with this. Similarly, interpreting the width of the IBEX ribbon in terms of a fluctuating magnetic field also is in agreement with this picture. Observations of TeV cosmic rays can also be explained. Potential effects of these fluctuations in the interstellar medium on the heliosphere will be discussed.

Reference: Frisch, etal, Science, 341, 480