The Astrophysical Journal
Department of Physics and Astronomy
We report the results of a comprehensive reanalysis of Ulysses observations of interstellar He atoms flowing through the solar system, the goal being to reassess the interstellar He flow vector and to search for evidence of variability in this vector. We find no evidence that the He beam seen by Ulysses changes at all from 1994-2007. The direction of flow changes by no more than ~03 and the speed by no more than ~0.3 km s–1. A global fit to all acceptable He beam maps from 1994-2007 yields the following He flow parameters: V ISM = 26.08 ± 0.21 km s–1, λ = 75.54 ± 019, β = –5.44 ± 024, and T = 7260 ± 270 K; where λ and β are the ecliptic longitude and latitude direction in J2000 coordinates. The flow vector is consistent with the original analysis of the Ulysses team, but our temperature is significantly higher. The higher temperature somewhat mitigates a discrepancy that exists in the He flow parameters measured by Ulysses and the Interstellar Boundary Explorer, but does not resolve it entirely. Using a novel technique to infer photoionization loss rates directly from Ulysses data, we estimate a density of n He = 0.0196 ± 0.0033 cm–3 in the interstellar medium.
Dartmouth Digital Commons Citation
Wood, Brian E.; Müller, Hans-Reinhard; and Witte, Manfred, "Revisiting Ulysses Observations of Interstellar Helium" (2015). Dartmouth Scholarship. 2150.