Separation of the ribbon from globally distributed energetic neutral atom flux using the first five years of IBEX observations

N. A. Schwadron, E. Moebius, S. A. Fuselier, D. J. McComas, H. O. Funsten, P. Janzen, D. Reisenfeld, H. Kucharek, M. A. Lee, K. Fairchild, F. Allegrini, M. Dayeh, G. Livadiotis, M. Reno, M. Bzowski, J. M. Sokół, M. A. Kubiak, E. R. Christian, R. Demajistre, P. FrischA. Galli, P. Wurz, M. Gruntman

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The Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) observes the IBEX ribbon, which stretches across much of the sky observed in energetic neutral atoms (ENAs). The ribbon covers a narrow (∼20°-50°) region that is believed to be roughly perpendicular to the interstellar magnetic field. Superimposed on the IBEX ribbon is the globally distributed flux that is controlled by the processes and properties of the heliosheath. This is a second study that utilizes a previously developed technique to separate ENA emissions in the ribbon from the globally distributed flux. A transparency mask is applied over the ribbon and regions of high emissions. We then solve for the globally distributed flux using an interpolation scheme. Previously, ribbon separation techniques were applied to the first year of IBEX-Hi data at and above 0.71 keV. Here we extend the separation analysis down to 0.2 keV and to five years of IBEX data enabling first maps of the ribbon and the globally distributed flux across the full sky of ENA emissions. Our analysis shows the broadening of the ribbon peak at energies below 0.71 keV and demonstrates the apparent deformation of the ribbon in the nose and heliotail. We show global asymmetries of the heliosheath, including both deflection of the heliotail and differing widths of the lobes, in context of the direction, draping, and compression of the heliospheric magnetic field. We discuss implications of the ribbon maps for the wide array of concepts that attempt to explain the ribbon's origin. Thus, we present the five-year separation of the IBEX ribbon from the globally distributed flux in preparation for a formal IBEX data release of ribbon and globally distributed flux maps to the heliophysics community.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13
JournalAstrophysical Journal, Supplement Series
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014


  • ISM: magnetic fields
  • Sun: heliosphere


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