Space Science Reviews

, Volume 143, Issue 1, pp 151-162

First online:

Interplanetary Lyman α Observations: Intensities from Voyagers and Line Profiles from HST/STIS

  • Eric QuémeraisAffiliated withService d’Aéronomie, Université Versailles-St Quentin Email author 
  • , Rosine LallementAffiliated withService d’Aéronomie, Université Versailles-St Quentin
  • , Bill R. SandelAffiliated withLunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona
  • , John T. ClarkeAffiliated withBoston University

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We present an analysis of Voyager UVS data obtained between 1993 and mid-2007. These data are used to study the interplanetary background and the hydrogen number density in the outer heliosphere. Two types of observations are studied, first the heliospheric scans performed until 2003 and then the fixed line of sight observations, close to the upwind direction, which are still performed at the end of 2007.

We make comparisons with models including multiple scattering and hydrogen distributions derived from self-consistent modeling of the interface region. It is found that there is a remaining discrepancy between models and data. The origin of this difference is unknown but it may be linked to a possible tilting of the heliospheric interface due to the presence of an interstellar magnetic field.

We should also estimate alternate sources of emission which are not backscattering of solar photons like collisional excitation of hydrogen in the heliosheath and emission after charge transfer or recombination of proton and electron in HII regions.

Line profiles from HST/STIS are also presented.


Outer heliosphere Interplanetary background Hydrogen distribution