BackForwardInstrument:  IBEX 

Instrument details
Acronym IBEX
Full name Interstellar Boundary Explorer
Purpose To detect energetic neutral atoms to create maps from the solar system’s outer edge, enabling scientists to map the boundary between Solar System and interstellar space.
Short description Assemblage of two units: 1) IBEX-Lo for the energy range 0.01-2 keV; and 2) IBEX-Hi for the energy range 0.3-6 keV. The Energetic Neutral Atoms (ENA) enter the sensors through collimators that suppress the external electrons below ~600 eV and the external ions below 10 keV.
Background New development
Scanning Technique Instrument optical axis perpendicular to the satellite spin axis, that points at the Sun. Volumetric scanning provided by the satellite spin motion and the satellite motion cross the Magnetosphere along its low-inclination highly elliptical orbit
Resolution 7° x 7° resolution when viewing the heliosphere, 3.5º x 3.5º to precisely measure the cold interstellar neutral oxygen drifting into the heliosphere
Coverage / Cycle Full interplanetary space in six months
Mass Power Data Rate


Providing Agency NASA
Instrument Maturity Flown on an R&D satellite
Utilization Period: 2009 to 2023
Last update: 2021-12-16
Detailed characteristics
Satellites this instrument is flying on

Note: a red tag indicates satellites no longer operational, a green tag indicates operational satellites, a blue tag indicates future satellites

Instrument classification
  • Solar and space environment monitors
  • Energetic particle spectrometer
WIGOS Subcomponents
  • Subcomponent 3
  • Neutral and Ion Mass Spectrometer
  • Energetic Neutral Atom spectrometer [from LEO and HEO]
Mission objectives
Primary mission objectives
  • Energetic Neutral Atom (ENA)
Evaluation of Measurements

The following list indicates which measurements can typically be retrieved from this category of instrument. To see a full Gap Analysis by Variable, click on the respective variable.

Note: table can be sorted by clicking on the column headers
Note: * Primary mission objective.
VariableRelevance for measuring this variableOperational limitationsExplanation
Energetic Neutral Atom (ENA)*3 - highNo specific limitation.Interplanetary space, low energy (over 10 up to 10000 eV)