Sixteen years of Ulysses interstellar dust measurements in the Solar System. II. Fluctuations in the dust flow from the data
Publication date: 19 October 2015
Authors: Strub, P., et al.
Journal: The Astrophysical Journal
Copyright: © 2015. The American Astronomical SocietyThe Ulysses spacecraft provided the first opportunity to identify and study interstellar dust (ISD) in situ in the solar system between 1992 and 2007. Here we present the first comprehensive analysis of the ISD component in the entire Ulysses dust data set. We analyzed several parameters of the ISD flow in a time-resolved fashion: flux, flow direction, mass index, and flow width. The general picture is in agreement with a time-dependent focusing/defocusing of the charged dust particles due to long-term variations of the solar magnetic field throughout a solar magnetic cycle of 22 years. In addition, we confirm a shift in dust direction of 50° ± 7° in 2005, along with a steep, size-dependent increase in flux by a factor of 4 within 8 months. To date, this is difficult to interpret and has to be examined in more detail by new dynamical simulations. This work is part of a series of three papers. This paper concentrates on the time-dependent flux and direction of the ISD. In a companion paper we analyze the overall mass distribution of the ISD measured by Ulysses, and a third paper discusses the results of modeling the flow of the ISD as seen by Ulysses.