Thickness of the heliosheath, return of the pick-up ions, and voyager 1's crossing the heliopause

K. C. Hsieh, J. Giacalone, A. Czechowski, M. Hilchenbach, S. Grzedzielski, J. Kota

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


abs Using results of remote sensing by energetic neutral atoms from IBEX, SOHO/HSTOF, and Cassini/INCA, in situ measurements of ∼40-4000 keV protons in the heliosheath (HS) from Low Energy Charged Particle on Voyager 1 and Voyager 2, and outputs from numerical modeling of the termination shock, we estimate L, the characteristic thickness of the HS in the "upwind" direction (±45° in ecliptic longitude of the Nose at λ = 255°). A simple steady-state, internally consistent model gives L = 21 ± 6 AU for Voyager 1, L = 28 ± 8 AU for Voyager 2, and L = 25 ± 8 AU assuming that the same L value is valid for both spacecraft. We recognize that this is a very coarse cut at a very dynamic region of the heliosphere; but if the lower value L = 21 AU applies, one could expect Voyager 1 to cross the heliopause as early as late 2010.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L185-L188
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number2 PART 2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2010


  • Acceleration of particles-methods
  • Data analysis-plasmas-shock waves-space vehicles
  • Heliosphere
  • Instruments-Sun

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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