The global modulation of Galactic and Jovian electrons in the heliosphere

  • Rendani R. NndanganeniEmail author
  • Marius S. Potgieter
Original Article


A full three-dimensional, numerical model is used to study the modulation of Jovian and Galactic electrons from 1 MeV to 50 GeV, and from the Earth into the heliosheath. For this purpose the very local interstellar spectrum and the Jovian electron source spectrum are revisited. It is possible to compute the former with confidence at kinetic energies \(E < 50~\mbox{MeV}\) since Voyager 1 crossed the heliopause in 2012 at \(\sim 122~\mbox{AU}\), measuring Galactic electrons at these energies. Modeling results are compared with Voyager 1 observations in the outer heliosphere, including the heliosheath, as well as observations at or near the Earth from the ISSE3 mission, and in particular the solar minimum spectrum from the PAMELA space mission for 2009, also including data from Ulysses for 1991 and 1992, and observations above 1 MeV from SOHO/EPHIN. Making use of the observations at or near the Earth and the two newly derived input functions for the Jovian and Galactic electrons respectively, the energy range over which the Jovian electrons dominate the Galactic electrons is determined so that the intensity of Galactic electrons at Earth below 100 MeV is calculated. The differential intensity for the Galactic electrons at Earth for \(E = 1~\mbox{MeV}\) is \(\sim 4\) electrons \(\mbox{m}^{-2}\,\mbox{s}^{-1}\,\mbox{sr}^{-1}\,\mbox{MeV}^{-1}\), whereas for Jovian electrons it is \(\sim 350\) electrons \(\mbox{m}^{-2}\,\mbox{s}^{-1}\,\mbox{sr}^{-1}\,\mbox{MeV}^{-1}\). At \(E = 30~\mbox{MeV}\) the two intensities are the same; above this energy the Jovian electron intensity quickly subsides so that the Galactic intensity completely dominates. At 6 MeV, in the equatorial plane the Jovian electrons dominate but beyond \(\sim 15~\mbox{AU}\) the Galactic intensity begins to exceed the Jovian intensity significantly.


Solar modulation Jovian electrons Galactic electrons Heliopause spectrum 



R.R. Nndanganeni acknowledges the South African National Research Foundation (NRF) and the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) for contributions to her PhD bursary while she was a student at the NWU. M.S. Potgieter acknowledges the partial financial support of the NRF under grants 85609 and 98947. He thanks the Kiel Ulysses Group for many discussions on electron observations, and W.R. Webber for discussions on the V1 electron data.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.SANSA Space ScienceHermanusSouth Africa
  2. 2.Centre for Space ResearchNorth-West UniversityPotchefstroomSouth Africa

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