Article

Effect of Supernovae on the Local Interstellar Material

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Abstract

A range of astronomical data indicates that ancient supernovae created the galactic environment of the Sun and sculpted the physical properties of the interstellar medium near the heliosphere. In this paper we review the characteristics of the local interstellar medium that have been affected by supernovae. The kinematics, magnetic field, elemental abundances, and configuration of the nearest interstellar material support the view that the Sun is at the edge of the Loop I superbubble, which has merged into the low density Local Bubble. The energy source for the higher temperature X-ray emitting plasma pervading the Local Bubble is uncertain. Winds from massive stars and nearby supernovae, perhaps from the Sco-Cen Association, may have contributed radioisotopes found in the geologic record and galactic cosmic ray population. Nested supernova shells in the Orion and Sco-Cen regions suggest spatially distinct sites of episodic star formation. The heliosphere properties vary with the pressure of the surrounding interstellar cloud. A nearby supernova would modify this pressure equilibrium and thereby severely disrupt the heliosphere as well as the local interstellar medium.

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... The LHB is the result of shock waves and stellar winds from ancient supernova explosions sweeping up gas and dust as they expand (Frisch & Dwarkadas 2017). Berghöfer & Breitschwerdt (2002) estimate that there have been 20 supernova explosions in this region of space within the last 10-20 Myr. ...
... The Loop I Superbubble results from explosions in the ScoCen association ∼15 Myr ago. If Loop I is a spherical feature, the Sun sits on or near its rim (Frisch 1990;Heiles 1998;Frisch & Dwarkadas 2017). Optical polarization and reddening data show that the eastern parts of Loop I, l = 3 − 60, b > 0, fall within 60-80 pc of the Sun (Frisch et al. 2011;Santos et al. 2011). ...
... Shocks from the multiple supernova and stellar winds that created the Local Bubble stir and mix the interstellar grains in the LHB. Large grains still associated with undisturbed or weakly disturbed dusty regions and shocked grains should both be found in the LHB (Frisch & Dwarkadas 2017). Dusty regions with large grains tend to be found at the characteristic distances usually thought of as the walls, but there is no hard division between regions. ...
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The properties of dust in the interstellar medium (ISM) nearest the Sun are poorly understood because the low column densities of dust toward nearby stars induce little photometric reddening, rendering the grains largely undetectable. Stellar polarimetry offers one pathway to deducing the properties of this diffuse material. Here we present multi-wavelength aperture polarimetry measurements of seven bright stars chosen to probe interstellar polarization near the edge of the Local Hot Bubble (LHB) - an amorphous region of relatively low density interstellar gas and dust extending ~70-150 pc from the Sun. The measurements were taken using the HIgh Precision Polarimetric Instrument (HIPPI) on the 3.9-m Anglo-Australian Telescope. HIPPI is an aperture stellar polarimeter with a demonstrated sensitivity of 4.3 parts-per-million (ppm). Of the stars observed two are polarized to a much greater degree than the others; they have a wavelength of maximum polarization ($\lambda_{max}$) of ~550 $\pm$ 20 nm - similar to that of stars beyond the LHB - and we conclude that they are in the wall of the LHB. The remaining five stars have polarizations of ~70 to 160 ppm, of these four have a much bluer $\lambda_{max}$, ~350 $\pm$ 50 nm. Bluer values of $\lambda_{max}$ may indicate grains shocked during the evolution of the Loop I Superbubble. The remaining star, HD 4150 is not well fit by a Serkowski curve, and may be intrinsically polarized.
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Significance Massive stars, which terminate their evolution in a cataclysmic explosion called a type-II supernova, are the nuclear engines of galactic nucleosynthesis. Among the elemental species known to be produced in these stars, the radioisotope ⁶⁰ Fe stands out: This radioisotope has no natural, terrestrial production mechanisms; thus, a detection of ⁶⁰ Fe atoms within terrestrial reservoirs is proof for the direct deposition of supernova material within our solar system. We report, in this work, the direct detection of live ⁶⁰ Fe atoms in biologically produced nanocrystals of magnetite, which we selectively extracted from two Pacific Ocean sediment cores. We find that the arrival of supernova material on Earth coincides with the lower Pleistocene boundary (2.7 Ma) and that it terminates around 1.7 Ma.
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Context. Two main hypotheses for the origin of Galactic cosmic rays are the supernova and superbubble origin hypotheses. Aims. We analyse the evidence for the superbubble hypothesis provided by the measurements of the relativive abundances of isotopes of cobalt and nickel in the cosmic ray flux. Methods. We compare the measured upper limit on the abundance of 59Ni in the cosmic ray flux with the 59Ni abundance predictions of the most recent stellar evolution models. Non-detection of 59Ni in the cosmic ray flux has previously been attributed to a long time delay of the order of 105 yr between the moment of supernova explosion and the onset of particle acceleration process. This long time delay was considered as an argument in favour of the superbubble scenario. Results. We show that the recent calculation of the 59Ni yield of massive stars, which takes the initial mass range up to 120 solar masses into account and includes stellar rotation, results in prediction of low 59Ni abundance relative to its decay product 59Co. The predicted abundance is consistent with the upper bound on 59Ni abundance in the cosmic ray flux for the supernova parameters assumed. This result removes the necessity of decay of 59Ni in the time interval between the supernova explosion and the onset of acceleration process and restores the consistency of measurements of 59Ni/59Co abundances with the "supernova" hypothesis of the CR origin.
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The Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) has been directly observing neutral atoms from the local interstellar medium for the last six years (2009-2014). This paper ties together the 14 studies in this Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series Special Issue, which collectively describe the IBEX interstellar neutral results from this epoch and provide a number of other relevant theoretical and observational results. Interstellar neutrals interact with each other and with the ionized portion of the interstellar population in the "pristine" interstellar medium ahead of the heliosphere. Then, in the heliosphere's close vicinity, the interstellar medium begins to interact with escaping heliospheric neutrals. In this study, we compare the results from two major analysis approaches led by IBEX groups in New Hampshire and Warsaw. We also directly address the question of the distance upstream to the pristine interstellar medium and adjust both sets of results to a common distance of ∼1000 AU. The two analysis approaches are quite different, but yield fully consistent measurements of the interstellar He flow properties, further validating our findings. While detailed error bars are given for both approaches, we recommend that for most purposes, the community use "working values" of ∼25.4 km s-1, ∼75.°7 ecliptic inflow longitude, ∼ -5.°1 ecliptic inflow latitude, and ∼7500 K temperature at ∼1000 AU upstream. Finally, we briefly address future opportunities for even better interstellar neutral observations to be provided by the Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe mission, which was recommended as the next major Heliophysics mission by the NRC's 2013 Decadal Survey. © 2015. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
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We investigate the directional distribution of heavy neutral atoms in the heliosphere by using heavy neutral maps generated with the IBEX-Lo instrument over three years from 2009 to 2011. The interstellar neutral (ISN) O&Ne gas flow was found in the first-year heavy neutral map at 601 keV and its flow direction and temperature were studied. However, due to the low counting statistics, researchers have not treated the full sky maps in detail. The main goal of this study is to evaluate the statistical significance of each pixel in the heavy neutral maps to get a better understanding of the directional distribution of heavy neutral atoms in the heliosphere. Here, we examine three statistical analysis methods: the signal-to-noise filter, the confidence limit method, and the cluster analysis method. These methods allow us to exclude background from areas where the heavy neutral signal is statistically significant. These methods also allow the consistent detection of heavy neutral atom structures. The main emission feature expands toward lower longitude and higher latitude from the observational peak of the ISN O&Ne gas flow. We call this emission the extended tail. It may be an imprint of the secondary oxygen atoms generated by charge exchange between ISN hydrogen atoms and oxygen ions in the outer heliosheath. © 2015. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved..
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Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) measurements from 2009-2010 identified a set of possible solutions with very tight coupling between the interstellar He inflow longitude, latitude, speed, and temperature. The center of this allowable parameter space suggested that the heliosphere could be moving more slowly and in a slightly different direction with respect to the interstellar medium than indicated by earlier Ulysses observations. In this study we examine data from 2012-2014 and compare results from an analytic analysis and a detailed computer model. For observations where the IBEX spacecraft pointing is near the ecliptic plane, the latest measurements indicate a different portion of IBEX's four-dimensional tube of possible parameters—one that is more consistent with the Ulysses flow direction and speed, but with a much higher temperature. Together, the current combined IBEX/Ulysses values we obtain are V ISM∞ ~ 26 km s-1, λISM∞ ~ 75°, βISM∞ ~ -5°, and T He∞ ~ 7000-9500 K. These indicate that the heliosphere is in a substantially warmer region of the interstellar medium than thought from the earlier Ulysses observations alone, and that this warmer region may be roughly isothermal. However, measurements taken when IBEX was pointing ~5° south of the ecliptic are inconsistent with this solution and suggest a slower speed, lower temperature, and flow direction similar to IBEX's prior central values. IBEX measures much deeper into the tails of the distributions of the inflowing interstellar material than Ulysses did and these observations indicate that the heliosphere's interstellar interaction is likely far more complex and interesting than previously appreciated.
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High energy resolution spectroscopy of the 1.8 MeV radioactive decay line of 26Al with the SPI instrument on board the INTEGRAL satellite has recently revealed that diffuse 26Al has large velocities in comparison to other components of the interstellar medium in the Milky Way. 26Al shows Galactic rotation in the same sense as the stars and other gas tracers, but reaches excess velocities up to 300 km/s. We investigate if this result can be understood in the context of superbubbles, taking into account the statistics of young star clusters and H I supershells, as well as the association of young star clusters with spiral arms. We derive energy output and 26Al mass of star clusters as a function of the cluster mass via population synthesis from stellar evolutionary tracks of massive stars. [...] We link this to the size distribution of HI supershells and assess the properties of likely 26Al-carrying superbubbles. 26Al is produced by star clusters of all masses above about 200 solar masses, roughly equally contributed over a logarithmic star cluster mass scale, and strongly linked to the injection of feedback energy. The observed superbubble size distribution cannot be related to the star cluster mass function in a straight forward manner. In order to avoid that the added volume of all superbubbles exceeds the volume of the Milky Way, individual superbubbles have to merge frequently. If any two superbubbles merge, or if 26Al is injected off-centre in a bigger HI supershell we expect the hot 26Al-carrying gas to obtain velocities of the order of the typical sound speed in superbubbles, about 300 km/s before decay. [...]
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The production factor, or broad band averaged cross-section, for solar wind charge-exchange with hydrogen producing emission in the ROSAT 1/4 keV (R12) band is $3.8\pm0.2\times10^{-20}$ count degree$^{-2}$ cm$^4$. This value is derived from a comparison of the Long-Term (background) Enhancements in the ROSAT All-Sky Survey with magnetohysdrodynamic simulations of the magnetosheath. This value is 1.8 to 4.5 times higher than values derived from limited atomic data, suggesting that those values may be missing a large number of faint lines. This production factor is important for deriving the exact amount of 1/4 keV band flux that is due to the Local Hot Bubble, for planning future observations in the 1/4 keV band, and for evaluating proposals for remote sensing of the magnetosheath. The same method cannot be applied to the 3/4 keV band as that band, being composed primarily of the oxygen lines, is far more sensitive to the detailed abundances and ionization balance in the solar wind. We also show, incidentally, that recent efforts to correlate XMM-Newton observing geometry with magnetosheath solar wind charge-exchange emission in the oxygen lines have been, quite literally, misguided. Simulations of the inner heliosphere show that broader efforts to correlate heliospheric solar wind charge-exchange with local solar wind parameters are unlikely to produce useful results.
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Neutral hydrogen atoms that travel into the heliosphere from the local interstellar medium (LISM) experience strong effects due to charge exchange and radiation pressure from resonant absorption and re-emission of Lyα. The radiation pressure roughly compensates for the solar gravity. As a result, interstellar hydrogen atoms move along trajectories that are quite different than those of heavier interstellar species such as helium and oxygen, which experience relatively weak radiation pressure. Charge exchange leads to the loss of primary neutrals from the LISM and the addition of new secondary neutrals from the heliosheath. IBEX observations show clear effects of radiation pressure in a large longitudinal shift in the peak of interstellar hydrogen compared with that of interstellar helium. Here, we compare results from the Lee et al. interstellar neutral model with IBEX-Lo hydrogen observations to describe the distribution of hydrogen near 1 AU and provide new estimates of the solar radiation pressure. We find over the period analyzed from 2009 to 2011 that radiation pressure divided by the gravitational force (μ) has increased slightly from μ = 0.94 ± 0.04 in 2009 to μ = 1.01 ± 0.05 in 2011. We have also derived the speed, temperature, source longitude, and latitude of the neutral H atoms and find that these parameters are roughly consistent with those of interstellar He, particularly when considering the filtration effects that act on H in the outer heliosheath. Thus, our analysis shows that over the period from 2009 to 2011, we observe signatures of neutral H consistent with the primary distribution of atoms from the LISM and a radiation pressure that increases in the early rise of solar activity.
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Cassini detects interstellar dust grains The interstellar medium contains an array of small solid particles known as dust grains. Altobelli et al. used the dust analyzer on the Cassini probe to detect 36 interstellar dust grains as they passed by Saturn, and they measured the grains' elemental abundances. The results show that, remarkably, these grains lack carbon-bearing compounds and have been homogenized in the interstellar medium into silicates with iron inclusions. Science , this issue p. 312
Article
The rate of supernovae in our local Galactic neighbourhood within a distance of about 100 parsecs from Earth is estimated to be one every 2-4 million years, based on the total rate in the Milky Way (2.0 ± 0.7 per century). Recent massive-star and supernova activity in Earth's vicinity may be traced by radionuclides with half-lives of up to 100 million years, if trapped in interstellar dust grains that penetrate the Solar System. One such radionuclide is (60)Fe (with a half-life of 2.6 million years), which is ejected in supernova explosions and winds from massive stars. Here we report that the (60)Fe signal observed previously in deep-sea crusts is global, extended in time and of interstellar origin from multiple events. We analysed deep-sea archives from all major oceans for (60)Fe deposition via the accretion of interstellar dust particles. Our results reveal (60)Fe interstellar influxes onto Earth at 1.5-3.2 million years ago and at 6.5-8.7 million years ago. The signal measured implies that a few per cent of fresh (60)Fe was captured in dust and deposited on Earth. Our findings indicate multiple supernova and massive-star events during the last ten million years at distances of up to 100 parsecs.
Article
The solar wind emanating from the Sun interacts with the local interstellar medium (LISM), forming the heliosphere. Hydrogen energetic neutral atoms (ENAs) produced by the solar-interstellar interaction carry important information about plasma properties from the boundaries of the heliosphere, and are currently being measured by NASA's Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX). IBEX observations show the existence of a "ribbon" of intense ENA emission projecting a circle on the celestial sphere that is centered near the local interstellar magnetic field (ISMF) vector. Here we show that the source of the IBEX ribbon as a function of ENA energy outside the heliosphere, uniquely coupled to the draping of the ISMF around the heliopause, can be used to precisely determine the magnitude (2.93 ± 0.08 μG) and direction (22728 ± 069, 3462 ± 045 in ecliptic longitude and latitude) of the pristine ISMF far (~1000 AU) from the Sun. We find that the ISMF vector is offset from the ribbon center by ~83 toward the direction of motion of the heliosphere through the LISM, and their vectors form a plane that is consistent with the direction of deflected interstellar neutral hydrogen, thought to be controlled by the ISMF. Our results yield draped ISMF properties close to that observed by Voyager 1, the only spacecraft to directly measure the ISMF close to the heliosphere, and give predictions of the pristine ISMF that Voyager 1 has yet to sample.
Article
We present deep XMM–Newton European Photon Imaging Camera observations of the Wolf–Rayet (WR) bubble NGC 6888 around the star WR 136. The complete X-ray mapping of the nebula confirms the distribution of the hot gas in three maxima spatially associated with the caps and north-west blowout hinted at by previous Chandra observations. The global X-ray emission is well described by a two-temperature optically thin plasma model (T1 = 1.4 × 106 K, T2 = 8.2 × 106 K) with a luminosity of LX = 7.8 × 1033 erg s−1 in the 0.3–1.5 keV energy range. The rms electron density of the X-ray-emitting gas is estimated to be ne = 0.4 cm−3. The high-quality observations presented here reveal spectral variations within different regions in NGC 6888, which allowed us for the first time to detect temperature and/or nitrogen abundance inhomogeneities in the hot gas inside a WR nebula. One possible explanation for such spectral variations is that the mixing of material from the outer nebula into the hot bubble is less efficient around the caps than in other nebular regions.
Article
Interstellar He represents a key sample of interstellar matter that, due to its high first ionization potential, survives the journey from beyond our solar system's heliospheric boundaries to Earth. Ongoing analysis of interstellar neutral (ISN) He atoms by the Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) has resulted in a growing sophistication in our understanding of the local interstellar flow. A key feature of the IBEX observations near perihelion of the ISN trajectories is a narrow "tube" of approximately degenerate interstellar parameters. These degenerate solutions provide a tightly coupled relationship between the interstellar flow longitude and latitude, speed, and temperature. However, the IBEX analysis resulting in a specific solution for the inflow longitude, inflow speed, temperature, and inflow latitude was accompanied by a sizeable uncertainty along the parameter tube. Here, we use the three-step method to find the interstellar parameters: (1) the ISN He peak rate in ecliptic longitude uniquely determines a relation (as part of the tube in parameter space) between the longitude and the speed of the He ISN flow at infinity; (2) the ISN He peak latitude (on the great circle swept out in each spin) is compared to simulations to derive unique values for and along the parameter tube; and (3) the angular width of the He flow distributions as a function of latitude is used to derive the interstellar He temperature. For simulated peak latitudes, we use a relatively new analytical tool that traces He atoms from beyond the termination shock into the position of IBEX and incorporates the detailed response function of IBEX-Lo. By varying the interstellar parameters along the IBEX parameter tube, we find the specific parameters that minimize the chi-square difference between observations and simulations. The new computational tool for simulating neutral atoms through the integrated IBEX-Lo response function makes no assumptions or expansions with respect to the spin-axis pointing or frame of reference. Thus, we are able to move beyond closed-form approximations and utilize observations of interstellar He during the complete five year period from 2009 to 2013 when the primary component of interstellar He is most prominent. Chi-square minimization of simulations compared to observations results in a He ISN flow longitude of 75.°6 ± 1.°4, latitude of -5.°12 ± 0.°27, speed of 25.4 ± 1.1 km s-1, and temperature of 8000 ± 1300 K, where the uncertainties are related and apply along the IBEX parameter tube. This paper also provides documentation for a new release of ISN data and associated model runs. © 2015. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
Article
Interstellar polarization at optical-to-infrared wavelengths is known to arise from asymmetric dust grains aligned with the magnetic field. This effect provides a potentially powerful probe of magnetic field structure and strength if the details of the grain alignment can be reliably understood. Theory and observations have recently converged on a quantitative, predictive description of interstellar grain alignment based on radiative processes. The development of a general, analytical model for this radiative alignment torque (RAT) theory has allowed specific, testable predictions for realistic interstellar conditions. We outline the theoretical and observational arguments in favor of RAT alignment, as well as reasons the "classical" paramagnetic alignment mechanism is unlikely to work, except possibly for the very smallest grains. With further detailed characterization of the RAT mechanism, grain alignment and polarimetry promise to not only better constrain the interstellar magnetic field but also provide new information on the dust characteristics.
Article
The Local Leo Cold Cloud (LLCC, at a distance of 11-24 pc) was studied in its relation to the Local Hot Bubble (LHB) and the result suggested that much of the observed keV emission in that direction originates in front of the cloud. This placed a strong constraint on the distribution of X-ray emission within the LHB and called into question the assumption of a uniform distribution of X-ray emitting plasma within the Local Cavity. However, recent work has quantified the contribution of heliospheric solar wind charge exchange (SWCX) emission to the diffuse X-ray background measured by the ROSAT All-Sky Survey (RASS) at keV, and led to the consistency of pressure measurements between the LHB and the local cloud component of the complex of local interstellar clouds (CLICs) surrounding the Sun. In this paper we revisit the LLCC and improve the previous analysis by using higher resolution RASS data, a serendipitous ROSAT pointed observation, a rigorous treatment of the band-averaged X-ray absorption cross section, and models for the heliospheric and magnetospheric SWCX contributions. We find that the foreground emission to the cloud is in excess of the expected heliospheric (interplanetary plus near Earth) SWCX contribution but that it is marginally consistent with the range of possible LHB plasma path lengths between the LLCC and the CLICs given the currently understood plasma emissivity.
Article
The Orion-Eridanus superbubble is the prototypical superbubble due to its proximity and evolutionary state. Here, we provide a synthesis of recent observational data from WISE and Planck with archival data, allowing to draw a new and more complete picture on the history and evolution of the Orion-Eridanus region. We discuss the general morphological structures and observational characteristics of the superbubble, and derive quantitative properties of the gas- and dust inside Barnard's Loop. We reveal that Barnard's Loop is a complete bubble structure which, together with the lambda Ori region and other smaller-scale bubbles, expands within the Orion-Eridanus superbubble. We argue that the Orion-Eridanus superbubble is larger and more complex than previously thought, and that it can be viewed as a series of nested shells, superimposed along the line of sight. During the lifetime of the superbubble, HII region champagne flows and thermal evaporation of embedded clouds continuously mass-load the superbubble interior, while winds or supernovae from the Orion OB association rejuvenate the superbubble by sweeping up the material from the interior cavities in an episodic fashion, possibly triggering the formation of new stars that form shells of their own. The steady supply of material into the superbubble cavity implies that dust processing from interior supernova remnants is more efficient than previously thought. The cycle of mass-loading, interior cleansing, and star formation repeats until the molecular reservoir is depleted or the clouds have been disrupted. While the nested shells come and go, the superbubble remains for tens of millions of years.
Article
Soft X-ray intensity at 0.89 keV along the North Polar Spur is shown to follow the extinction law due to the interstellar gas in the Aquila Rift by analyzing the ROSAT archival data, which proves that the NPS is located behind the rift. The Aquila-Serpens molecular clouds, where the X-ray optical depth exceeds unity, are shown to have a mean LSR velocity of v=7.33 +/- 1.94 km/s, corresponding to a kinematic distance of r=0.642 +/- 0.174 kpc. Assuming a shell structure, a lower limit of the distance to NPS is derived to be 1.01 +/- 0.25 kpc, with the shell center being located farther than 1.1 kpc. Based on the distance estimation, we argue that the NPS is a galactic halo object.
Article
We used data from the WMAP satellite at 23, 33 and 41 GHz to study the diffuse polarised emission over the entire sky. This emission is due to synchrotron radiation and it originates mostly from filamentary structures with well-ordered magnetic fields. Some of these structures have been known for decades in radio continuum maps: the 'radio loops', with the North Polar Spur being the most studied. The origin of these filaments is not clear and there are many filaments that are visible for the first time with these polarisation data. We have identified 11 filaments and studied their observational properties. We find that the polarisation spectral indices, averaged over 18 regions in the sky is $\beta = -3.06 \pm 0.02$, which is consistent with synchrotron radiation, although there are significant variations in $\beta$ over the sky ($\Delta\beta\approx0.2$). The polarisation fraction of some of the filaments can be as high as 40%, which is a signature of a well ordered magnetic field. We explore the link between the large-scale filaments and the local ISM, using the model of an expanding shell in the vicinity of the Sun. We compared the observed polarisation angles with the predictions from the model and found good agreement over most of the sky. We also studied the level of contamination added by the diffuse filaments to the CMB E- and B-modes power spectra. We find that the power measured at low $\ell$ of the B-mode spectrum is $\sim10$ times larger than the power measured after masking the filaments from the maps. We conclude that, even though these filaments present low radio brightness, a careful removal will be necessary for future all-sky CMB polarisation analysis.
Article
A recent XMM–Newton observation has revealed diffuse X-ray emission inside the nebula NGC 2359 around the Wolf–Rayet star WR 7. Taking advantage of an improved point-source rejection and background subtraction, and a detailed comparison of optical and X-ray morphology, we have reanalysed these X-ray observations. Our analysis reveals diffuse X-ray emission from a blowout and the presence of emission at energies from 1.0 to 2.0 keV. The X-ray emission from NGC 2359 can be described by an optically thin plasma emission model, but contrary to previous analysis, we find that the chemical abundances of this plasma are similar to those of the optical nebula, with no magnesium enhancement, and that two components at temperatures T1 = 2 × 106 K and T2 = 5.7 × 107 K are required. The estimated X-ray luminosity in the 0.3–2.0 keV energy range is LX = 2 × 1033 erg s−1. The averaged rms electron density of the X-ray-emitting gas (ne ≲ 0.6 cm−3) reinforces the idea of mixing of material from the outer nebula into the hot bubble.
Article
Many studies of the Loop I magnetic superbubble place the Sun at the edges of the bubble. One recent study models the polarized radio continuum of Loop I as two magnetic shells with the Sun embedded in the rim of the "S1" shell. If the Sun is in such a shell, it should be apparent in both the local interstellar magnetic field and the distribution of nearby interstellar material. The properties of these subshells are compared to the interstellar magnetic field and the distribution of interstellar Fe+ and Ca+ within ~55 pc of the Sun. Although the results are not conclusive, the interstellar magnetic field direction obtained from polarized stars within ~30 pc is consistent with the interstellar magnetic field direction of the S1 shell. The distribution of nearby interstellar Fe+ with log N(Fe+) < 12.5 cm–2 is described equally well by a uniform distribution or an origin in spherical shell-like features. Higher column densities of Fe+ (log N(Fe+)>12.5 cm–2) tend to be better described by the path length of the sightline through the S1 and S2 subshells. Column densities of the recombinant ion Ca+ are found to increase with the strength of the interstellar radiation field, rather than with star distance or total pathlength through the two magnetic subshells. The ion Ca+ cannot be used to trace the distribution of local interstellar gas unless the spatial variations in the radiation field are included in the calculation of the ionization balance, in addition to possible abundance variations. The result is that a model of Loop I as composed of two spherical magnetic subshells remains a viable description of the distribution of nearby low density interstellar medium, but is not yet proven.
Article
Among all known young nearby neutron stars, we search for the neutron star that was born in the same supernova event that formed the Antlia supernova remnant (SNR). We also look for a runaway star that could have been the former companion to the neutron star (if it exists) and then got ejected due to the same supernova. We find the pulsar PSR J0630-2834 to be the best candidate for a common origin with the Antlia SNR. In that scenario the SNR is ~1.2 Myr old and is presently located at a distance of ~138 pc. We consider the runaway star HIP 47155 a former companion candidate to PSR J0630-2834. The encounter time and place is consistent with both stars being ejected from the Antlia SNR. We measured the radial velocity of HIP 47155 as 32.42 +/- 0.70km/s.
Article
A 3-D MHD simulation for the heliosphere resulting from the interaction of the solar wind with the interstellar medium is carried out. The response of the heliospheric structure to the 11-year solar cycle variations is analyzed in detail. It is shown that (1) the MHD structure is different from the HD structure, especially the density pattern of the heliosheath in the upstream direction, and that (2) the heliosheath is in a mixed state containing various plasma remnants which come from inner heliosphere as high-speed/low-speed solar winds at their respective solar-cycle phases, hence the heliospheric response time is much longer than the 11-year solar cycle time: the structure quickly changes with time long before it would reach a stastionary structure at each solar cycle phase. It is also shown that (3) the magnetic-field strucure in the heliosheath during the solar cycle variations involves shell-like neutral sheets extending over a wide latitudinal range from the equator to the heliopause boundary, in addition to the well-known ecliptic sheet. These new sheets are produced when the polarity of the solar magnetic field reverses at the solar maximum.
Article
X-ray emission due to charge transfer collisions between heavy solar wind ions and neutrals has been predicted to exist both in the heliosphere and in the geocorona. The heliospheric X-ray emission can account for roughly half of the observed soft X-ray background intensity. It was also suggested that temporal variations in the heliospheric and geocoronal soft X-ray intensities will result from solar wind variations. In this paper, a simple model of the charge exchange X-ray emission mechanism is combined with measured solar wind parameters as a function of time and used to generate predictions of the temporal variation of the X-ray intensity observed at Earth for the time periods 1990–1993 and 1996–1998. Measured solar wind proton fluxes are also directly compared with the “long-term enhancement” part of the soft X-ray background measured by the Röntgen Satellite (ROSAT). A significant positive correlation exists, which supports the existence of X-ray emission associated with the solar wind interaction with either interstellar neutrals and/or with geocoronal neutral hydrogen.
Article
Direct sampling of neutral interstellar (NIS) atoms by the Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) can potentially provide a complementary method for studying element abundances in the Local Interstellar Cloud and processes in the heliosphere interface.}{We set the stage for abundance-aimed in-depth analysis of measurements of NIS He, Ne, and O by IBEX and determine systematic differences between abundances derived from various calculation methods and their uncertainties.}{Using a model of ionization rates of the NIS species in the heliosphere, based on independent measurements of the solar wind and solar EUV radiation, we develop a time-dependent method of calculating the survival probabilities of NIS atoms from the termination shock (TS) of the solar wind to IBEX. With them, we calculate densities of these species along the Earth's orbit and simulate the fluxes of NIS species as observed by IBEX. We study pairwise ratios of survival probabilities, densities and fluxes of NIS species at IBEX to calculate correction factors for inferring the abundances at TS.}{The analytic method to calculate the survival probabilities gives acceptable results only for He and Ne during low solar activity. For the remaining portions of the solar cycle, and at all times for O, a fully time dependent model should be used. Electron impact ionization is surprisingly important for NIS O. Interpreting the IBEX observations using the time dependent model yields the LIC Ne/O abundance of $0.16\pm40%$. The uncertainty is mostly due to uncertainties in the ionization rates and in the NIS gas flow vector.}{The Ne/He, O/He and Ne/O ratios for survival probabilities, local densities, and fluxes scaled to TS systematically differ and thus an analysis based only on survival probabilities or densities is not recommended, except the Ne/O abundance for observations at low solar activity.
Article
In a deep ocean ferromanganese crust an excess of 60Fe radioactivity was measured by means of high sensitivity accelerator mass spectrometry. The enhanced concentrations measured in the first two of three layers (corresponding to a time span of 0-2.8 Myr and 3.7-5.9 Myr, respectively) suggest the deposition of supernova produced 60Fe on earth. There is even a weak indication that the flux into the crust was higher about 5 Myr ago.
Article
A least squares fit of line-of-sight velocities of interstellar gas observed in nearby stars' spectra to the homogeneous flow model is performed. The ionized matter seems to flow in accordance with Crutcher (1982) model, while the neutral hydrogen flow is in accordance with this model for lines of sight to distant stars only and not for very nearby stars. On the other hand, the flow of nearby interstellar hydrogen seems to follow the flow derived from analysis of the backscattered solar radiation.
Article
This review concerns itself with Loop I (the North Polar Spur), an angularly immense feature of the high latitude galactic continuum radio emission. Observations of relevance are presented ranging in wavelength from the radio region to γ-rays. The many theories for the origin of the feature are considered. Special attention is paid to the hypothesis that the object is a superova remnant, at its closest less than 100 pc from the sun. The possibility that Loop I may have a major influence on our local interstellar medium is mentioned.
Article
Recent analysis of COMPTEL data has revealed an extremely close correlation between 53 GHz microwave free-free and 1.8 MeV gamma-ray line emission. While microwave free-free emission arises from the ionized interstellar medium, 1.8 MeV gamma rays are emitted during the radioactive decay of 26Al. We argue that the close correlation can only be understood if massive stars (M20 M☉) are at the origin of Galactic 26Al. Based on the measured proportionality factor, we estimate the 26Al yield of an "equivalent O7 V star" to be (1.0±0.5)×10−4 M☉. Using an estimate for the total Galactic Lyman continuum luminosity of Q=3.5×1053 photons s-1, we derive the Galactic 26Al mass to be 3.1±0.9 M☉. The mass estimate is compared to theoretical nucleosynthesis predictions for 26Al from core-collapse supernovae and Wolf-Rayet stars. We circumvent the problem of using a weakly constrained star formation rate for this comparison by determining the star formation rate self-consistently from our models, using the Galactic Lyman continuum luminosity. The effects of mass loss and metallicity are considered, and the uncertainties of predicted 26Al production rates due to poorly known initial mass limits for the candidate sources are discussed. Assuming solar metallicity throughout the entire Galaxy, we predict a Galactic 26Al mass of 1.6±0.3 M☉, of which ~60% is produced by core-collapse supernovae, while ~40% originates from Wolf-Rayet stars. Taking the Galactic metallicity gradient into account increases the Galactic 26Al mass to 2.2±0.4 M☉, consistent with the observed value. The increase mainly arises from enhanced production by Wolf-Rayet stars in the metal-rich inner Galaxy; these contribute ~60% of the Galactic 26Al budget. We predict that the metallicity gradient should produce an inner-to-outer Galaxy intensity contrast of ~30% between 1.8 MeV and Galactic free-free emission, which should be observable by the future gamma-ray spectrometer SPI on the International Gamma-Ray Astrophysics Laboratory (INTEGRAL).
Article
Nearby supernova explosions—within a few tens of pc of the solar system—have become a subject of intense scrutiny, due to the discovery of live undersea 60Fe from an event 2.8 Myr ago. A key open question concerns the delivery of supernova ejecta to the Earth, in particular penetration of the heliosphere by the supernova remnant (SNR). We present the first systematic numerical hydrodynamical study of the interaction between a supernova blast and the solar wind. Our simulations explore dynamic pressure regimes that are factors ≥10 above those in other studies of the heliosphere under exotic conditions, for supernovae exploding at a range of distances through different interstellar environments, and interacting with solar winds of varying strengths. Our results are qualitatively consistent with the structure of the contemporary heliosphere modeled by previous work, but compressed to within the inner solar system. We demonstrate that key characteristics of the resulting heliospheric structure follow simple scaling laws that can be understood in terms of pressure-balance arguments, and which are in agreement with previous work. Our models show that a 10 pc supernova event, incident on a solar-wind outflow with the mean observed properties, compresses the heliopause to just beyond 1 AU. We also demonstrate scenarios where the supernova remnant compresses the heliopause to within 1 AU, in which cases supernova material will be directly deposited on Earth. Since 8 pc marks the nominal "kill radius" for severe biosphere damage, any extinction-level events should have left terrestrial deposits of supernova debris. We conclude with a brief discussion of the effect of our approximations and the impact of additional physics.
Article
We present new Goddard High-Resolution Spectrograph (GHRS) echelle observations of the high ionization lines of Si IV, C IV, and N V toward HD 119608, a halo star at d = 4.1 kpc behind the Loop I and IV supernova remnants. Absorption along the path to HD 119608 makes it possible to study energetic processes that may result in the flow of gas into the Galactic halo. The data have a resolution (FWHM) of ≈ 3.5 km s⁻¹ and S/N ratios of 30:1-50:1. The integrated high ion column densities log N = 13.57 ± 0.02, 14.48 ± 0.06, and 13.45 ± 0.07 for Si IV, C IV, and N V, respectively, imply a factor of 2-4 enhancement in the amount of highly ionized gas compared to average sight lines through the Galactic disk and halo. The integrated high ion column density ratios, N(C IV)/N(Si IV) = 8.1 ± 1.1 and N(C IV)/N(N V) = 10.7 ± 2.1, are also several times larger than normal. These high ion results suggest the absorption is influenced by passage of the sight line through the center of Loop IV. The HD 119608 C IV absorption profile has a bimodal velocity structure indicative of an expanding shell; we tentatively derive an expansion velocity of 16 km s⁻¹ for Radio Loop IV. A detailed analysis of the high ion profile structure indicates that multiple types of highly ionized gas with a range of properties exist along this sight line. We also reexamine the high ionization properties of the QSO 3C 273 sight line using new intermediate-resolution (FWHM ≈ 20 km s⁻¹) GHRS data. We obtain log N = 14.49 ± 0.03 and 13.87 ± 0.06 for C IV and N V, respectively. The C IV column density, which is 0.12 dex smaller than earlier estimates, leads to somewhat smaller ionic ratios than previously determined. We find N(C IV)/N(Si IV) = 5.1 ± 0.6 and N(C IV)/N(N V) = 4.2 ± 0.6. However, as for HD 119608, the high ion column densities toward 3C 273 are larger than normal by factors of 2-4. The 3C 273 high ion absorption profiles are much broader than those seen toward HD 119608 and other sight lines near the center of Loop IV. The larger line widths may result because the sight line passes through the turbulent edge of Loop IV as well as the X-ray and radio continuum emission regions of the North Polar Spur. We have compiled a list of the highest quality IUE and GHRS high ion measurements available for interstellar sight lines through the disk and halo and find the following median averaged results: N(C IV)/N(Si IV) = 3.8 ± 1.9 and N(C IV)/N(N V) = 4.0 ± 2.4. These ratios are lower than those found for four Loop IV sight lines. We suggest a model for the production of highly ionized gas in Loop IV in which the contributions from turbulent mixing layers and conductive interfaces/SNR bubbles to the total high ion column densities are approximately equal. Much of the high ion absorption toward HD 119608 and 3C 273 may occur within a highly fragmented medium within the remnant or the outer cavity walls of the remnant.