Title: Kinetic Parameters Of Interstellar Neutral Helium: Updated Results From The Ulysses/Gas Instrument

Authors: M. Witte, M. Banaszkiewicz, H. Rosenbauer, and D. McMullin

Reference: Proceedings of COSPAR/World Space Congress 2002

The GAS-instrument onboard the space probe ULYSSES (ULS) is designed to measure the local angular distribution of the flow of interstellar neutral He-atoms within 3 AU distance from the sun, it allows to infer the kinetic parameters (velocity vector, temperature and density) of these particles outside the heliosphere (“ at infinity”). Around the second fast latitude scan of ULYSSES, from 9/2000 to 9/2002 more than 200 new observations were obtained. The average values derived from these observations together with the results of all previous observations, which were recalculated with a refined pointing calibration, are velocity (v = 26.3 0.4 km/s), flow direction (ecliptic longitude l = 74.7° 0.5°, ecliptic latitude b = -5.2° 0.2°) and temperature (T = 6300 K 340 K). From 1990 to 2002, covering a complete solar cycle, no significant temporal variations of these parameters were observed nor variations with solar latitude. In contrast to that, variations in the density n values derived from the local observations were obvious and are interpreted to be due to variations in the loss processes, predominantly photo ionization, the particles experience on their way to the observer. While the temporal variations of the ionization rate can be taken into account from instantaneous values of solar EUV-irradiances, which became available from the CELIAS/SEM instrument on SOHO, the residual variations can be explained by latitudinal variations of the solar irradiance. As a result of a simple model a density n in the range (1.2 – 1.6 10-2 cm-3) is deduced.

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Last Update: 25 March 2003, Xuyu Wang