Polarization of the charge-exchange X-rays induced in the heliosphere

M. Gacesa, H. R. Müller, R. Côté, V. Kharchenko

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We report results of a theoretical investigation of polarization of the X-ray emissions induced in charge-exchange collisions of fully stripped solar wind (SW) ions C6+ and O8+ with the heliospheric hydrogen atoms. The polarization of X-ray emissions has been computed for line-of-sight observations within the ecliptic plane as a function of SW ion velocities, including a range of velocities corresponding to the slow and fast SW, and coronal mass ejections. To determine the variability of polarization of heliospheric X-ray emissions, the polarization has been computed for solar minimum conditions with self-consistent parameters of the SW plasma and heliospheric gas and compared with the polarization calculated for an averaged solar activity. We predict the polarization of charge-exchange X-rays to be between 3% and 8%, depending on the line-of-sight geometry, SW ion velocity, and the selected emission lines.

Original languageBritish English
Article numberL21
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number2 PART II
StatePublished - 10 May 2011


  • atomic processes
  • polarization
  • radiation mechanisms: non-thermal
  • solar wind
  • Sun: heliosphere
  • X-rays: diffuse background


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