Volume 616, August 2018
|Number of page(s)||19|
|Section||Interstellar and circumstellar matter|
|Published online||30 August 2018|
LRO/LAMP study of the interstellar medium via the HeI 58.4 nm resonance line
Southwest Research Institute,
2 Central Arizona College, Coolidge, AZ, USA
3 Department of Physics and Astronomy, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA
Accepted: 24 April 2018
Context. Recent measurements by IBEX and detailed modeling have changed our understanding of the flow of the interstellar medium through the solar system. In particular, a time dependence of the direction of the interstellar medium flow has been proposed, and a new population of helium atoms, called the “warm breeze”, has been discovered.
Aims. We aim to constrain the structure of the interstellar medium close to the downwind focusing cone using the sensitive LAMP FUV/EUV imaging spectrograph onboard the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.
Methods. We measured the brightness of the emission line from interstellar helium atoms resonantly scattering solar photons at 58.4 nm (HeI) and compare it to our “modified cold model” of interstellar HeI sky brightness as a function of ecliptic latitude and longitude. Additionally, we compared LAMP observations to a model with time-dependent inflow direction and a model of the brightness of the “warm breeze”, to see if they can be distinguished by LAMP.
Results. We find that the LAMP observations agree within error bars to our “modified cold model”, which in turn is consistent with the latest interstellar helium flow parameters found with IBEX. Our model can therefore be applied to other UV spectroscopic observations of the interstellar helium. However, LAMP observations cannot distinguish between our model and a model with a different inflow direction, since the latter has negligible effect on the 2D brightness of the interstellar HeI emission line. For the same reason, LAMP could not detect the effect of the “warm breeze”. We note a discrepancy between solar irradiances measured by TIMED/SEE and those measured by SDO/EVE. We recommend using values from SDO/EVE. Finally, we derive a value of LAMP sensitivity at the EUV wavelength (58.4 nm) of 0.485 ± 0.014 Hz/Rayleigh.
Conclusions. These measurements pave the way to observations of the interstellar wind from lunar orbit.
Key words: interplanetary medium / techniques: imaging spectroscopy / Sun: UV radiation / ISM: general / Sun: heliosphere
© ESO 2018
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