University of Kansas
X-Ray Emission in the Solar System
Image: Jovian soft X-rays from ROSAT; courtesy of J. H. Waite.
T. E. Cravens, I. P. Robertson, S. Snowden, K. Kuntz, M. Collier, and M. Medvedev
(The final version of this paper was published in The Local Bubble and Beyond II (Proceedings of the International Conference held in Philadelphia, PA, April 2008) edited by K. D. Kuntz, S. L. Snowden, and R. K. Smith, AIP Conference Proceedings, vol. 1156, pp. 37-51.)
PDF of final submission version
Published version on AIP website
Abstract: Astrophysical x-ray emission is typically associated with hot collisional plasmas, such as the million degree gas residing in the solar corona or in supernova remnants. However, x-rays can also be produced in cooler gas by charge exchange collisions between highly-charged ions and neutral atoms or molecules. This mechanism produces soft x-ray emission plasma when the solar wind interacts with neutral gas in the solar system. Examples of such x-ray sources include comets, the terrestrial magnetosheath, and the heliosphere (where the solar wind interacts with incoming interstellar neutral gas). Heliospheric emission is thought to make a significant contribution to the observed soft x-ray background (SXRB). This emission needs to be better understood so that it can be distinguished from the SXRB emission associated with hot interstellar gas and the galactic halo.