Energetic neutral atoms from the Earth's subsolar magnetopause
Article first published online: 8 JUL 2010
Copyright 2010 by the American Geophysical Union.
Geophysical Research Letters
Volume 37, Issue 13, July 2010
How to Cite
2010), Energetic neutral atoms from the Earth's subsolar magnetopause, Geophys. Res. Lett., 37, L13101, doi:10.1029/2010GL044140., et al. (
- Issue published online: 8 JUL 2010
- Article first published online: 8 JUL 2010
- Manuscript Accepted: 8 JUN 2010
- Manuscript Received: 28 MAY 2010
- Energetic neutral atoms;
- solar wind;
- charge exchange
The shocked solar wind in the Earth's magnetosheath becomes nearly stationary at the subsolar magnetopause. At this location, solar wind protons are neutralized by charge exchange with neutral hydrogen atoms at the extreme limits of the Earth's tenuous exosphere. The resulting Energetic Neutral Atoms (ENAs) propagate away from the subsolar region in nearly all directions. Simultaneous observations of hydrogen ENAs from the Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) and proton distributions in the magnetosheath from the Cluster spacecraft are used to quantify this charge exchange process. By combining these observations with a relatively simple model, estimates are obtained for the ratio of ENA to shocked solar wind flux (about 10−4) and the exospheric density at distances greater than 10 Earth Radii (RE) upstream from the Earth (about 8 cm−3).