Sixteen years of Ulysses interstellar dust measurements in the Solar System. III. Simulations and data unveil new insights into local interstellar dust
Publication date: 19 October 2015
Authors: Sterken, V.J., et al.
Journal: The Astrophysical Journal
Copyright: © 2015. The American Astronomical SocietyInterstellar dust (ISD) in the solar system was detected in situ for the first time in 1993 by the Ulysses dust detector. The study of ISD is important for understanding its role in star and solar system formation. The goal of this paper is to understand the variability in the ISD observations from the Ulysses mission by using a Monte Carlo simulation of ISD trajectories, with the final aim to constrain the ISD particle properties from simulations and the data. The paper is part of a series of three: Strub et al. describe the variations of the ISD flow from the Ulysses data set, and Krüger et al. focus on its ISD mass distribution. We describe and interpret the simulations of the ISD flow at Ulysses orbit for a wide range of particle properties and discuss four open issues in ISD research: the existence of very big ISD particles, the lack of smaller ISD particles, the shift in dust flow direction in 2005, and particle properties. We conclude that the shift in the dust flow direction in 2005 can best be explained by Lorentz force in the inner heliosphere, but that an extra filtering mechanism is needed to fit the fluxes. A time-dependent filtering in the outer regions of the heliosphere is proposed for this. Also, the high charge-to-mass ratio values found for the heavier particles after 2003 indicate that these particles are lower in density than previously assumed. This method gives new insights into the ISD properties and paves the way toward getting a complete view on the ISD from the local interstellar cloud. We conclude that in combination with the data and simulations, also impact ionization experiments are necessary using low-density dust, in order to constrain the density of the particles.