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Electron density fluctuations in the local interstellar bubble

Phillips, J. A. and Clegg, Andrew W. (1992) Electron density fluctuations in the local interstellar bubble. Nature, 360 (6400). pp. 137-139. ISSN 0028-0836. doi:10.1038/360137a0.

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The interstellar medium in our vicinity forms an elongated cavity of X-ray-emitting gas, extending up to 200 pc from the Sun. The gas inside this local bubble is very hot (~ 10^6 K) and tenuous (electron density n _e ≈ 0.005 cm^(−3)), and is typical of material in the coronal phase of the interstellar medium, thought to occur when hot stars or supernovae blow out holes in cooler and denser interstellar gas. Little is known about turbulent density fluctuations in the coronal gas, but its physical state is important in understanding cosmic ray confinement and the energy balance of interstellar material, as well as the scattering of radio emission from compact sources. To probe turbulence in the local interstellar medium, we have made scintillation measurements at 50 MHz (6 m wavelength) of emission from the nearby pulsar 0950 + 08, which happens to lie near the edge of the local bubble. From the scintillation bandwidth we deduce the amplitude of the electron-density fluctuation spectrum in the coronal gas alone, and find it to be an order of magnitude lower than for any previously measured interstellar line of sight. We conclude that the interior of the bubble is relatively quiescent and that high levels of plasma turbulence—if they exist—must be localized to the cavity boundary.

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Additional Information:© 1992 Nature Publishing Group. Received 1 June; Accepted 14 September 1992. We thank L. Belkora & S. Spangler for important contributions to the arguments in the paper. Arccibo is part of the National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center which is operated by Cornell University under contract with the NSF.
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Issue or Number:6400
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Official Citation:Phillips, J. A., & Clegg, A. W. (1992). Electron density fluctuations in the local interstellar bubble. [10.1038/360137a0]. Nature, 360(6400), 137-139.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:58113
Deposited On:09 Jun 2015 20:38
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 21:59

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