A new detection of Lyα absorption from the heliotail.
WOOD B.E., IZMODENOV V.V., ALEXASHOV D.B., REDFIELD S. and EDELMAN E.
Abstract (from CDS):
We present new Hubble Space Telescope observations of H I Lyα absorption toward the F8 V star HD 35296. This line of sight is only a few degrees from the downwind direction of the local interstellar medium flow vector. As a consequence, Lyα absorption from the heliotail is detected in the spectrum, consistent with three previous downwind detections of heliotail absorption. The clustering of the heliotail absorption detections around the downwind direction demonstrates that the heliotail is pointed close to that direction, limiting the extent to which the interstellar magnetic field might be distorting and deflecting the heliotail. We explore this issue further using three-dimensional MHD models of the global heliosphere. The three computed models represent the first three-dimensional MHD models with both a kinetic treatment of neutrals and an extended grid in the tail direction, both of which are necessary to model Lyα absorption downwind. The models indicate only modest heliotail asymmetries and deflections, which are not large enough to be inconsistent with the clustering of heliotail absorption detections around the downwind direction. The models are reasonably successful at reproducing the observed absorption, but they do overpredict the Lyα opacity by a factor of 2-3. We discuss implications of these results in light of observations of the heliotail region from the Interstellar Boundary Explorer mission.
ISM: atoms - solar wind - Sun: heliosphere - ultraviolet: ISM