Solar system X-rays from charge exchange processes

Dennerl, K. ; Lisse, C. M. ; Bhardwaj, A. ; Christian, D. J. ; Wolk, S. J. ; Bodewits, D. ; Zurbuchen, T. H. ; Combi, M. ; Lepri, S. (2012) Solar system X-rays from charge exchange processes Astronomische Nachrichten, 333 (4). pp. 324-334. ISSN 0004-6337

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While X-ray astronomy began in 1962 and has made fast progress since then in expanding our knowledge about where in the Universe X-rays are generated by which processes, it took one generation before the importance of a fundamentally different process was recognized. This happened in our immediate neighborhood, when in 1996 comets were discovered as a new class of X-ray sources, directing our attention to charge exchange reactions. Charge exchange is fundamentally different from other processes which lead to the generation of X-rays, because the X-rays are not produced by hot electrons, but by ions picking up electrons from cold gas. Thus it opens up a new window, making it possible to detect cool gas in X-rays (like in comets), while all the other processes require extremely high temperatures or otherwise extreme conditions. After having been overlooked for a long time, the astrophysical importance of charge exchange for the generation of X-rays is now receiving increased general attention. In our solar system, charge exchange induced X-rays have now been established to originate in comets, in all the planets from Venus to Jupiter, and even in the heliosphere itself. In addition to that, evidence for this X-ray emission mechanism has been found at various locations across the Universe. Here we summarize the current knowledge about solar system X-rays resulting from charge exchange processes.

Item Type:Article
Source:Copyright of this article belongs to John Wiley and Sons.
Keywords:Atomic Processes; Comets: General; Planets and Satellites: General; Radiation Mechanism: Non-thermal; Solar Wind; X-rays: General
ID Code:95807
Deposited On:26 Nov 2012 07:40
Last Modified:26 Nov 2012 07:40

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