The IBEX (Interstellar Boundary EXplorer) continues to collect data on the flux of neutral atoms from the boundary of the solar wind with the interstellar medium.
Starting with the IBEX satellite in orbit around the Earth, we zoom out to beyond the orbit of Neptune, illustrating the direction of the Sun relative to the local stars (red arrow) and relative to the local interstellar medium (violet arrow). These directions are different because the local interstellar medium (mostly gas and dust) move relative to the local stars.
The boundaries of the termination shock (red ellipsoidal surface) and heliopause (green) created by the interaction of the solar wind with the interstellar medium is displayed. The camera rotates to a view 'nose on' with the heliopause, and a sphere is faded in representing the region where the neutral atoms detected by IBEX originate. The sphere around the Sun is 'unwrapped' to reproject the IBEX data into an approximately Aitoff projection.
Color bar for the IBEX map spectral index. The color represents the relative amounts of low-energy to high-energy neutral atoms. A lower spectral index means a higher proportion of high-energy to low-energy atoms.
GCMD keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation:
Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version 220.127.116.11.0