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Rosetta observations of solar wind interaction with the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko
Space Science and Engineering Division, Southwest Research Institute (SwRI).
Southwest Research Institute, 6220 Culebra Road, San Antonio, Space Science and Engineering Division, Southwest Research Institute (SwRI).
Heliophysics Division, Goddard Space Flight Center.
Institut für Geophysik und Extraterrestrische Physik, Technische Universität Braunschweig.
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2015 (English)In: Astronomy and Astrophysics, ISSN 0004-6361, E-ISSN 1432-0746, Vol. 583, article id A21Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Context. The Rosetta spacecraft arrived at the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on August 6, 2014, which has made it possible to perform the first study of the solar wind interacting with the coma of a weakly outgassing comet. Aims. It is shown that the solar wind experiences large deflections (>45°) in the weak coma. The average ion velocity slows from the mass loading of newborn cometary ions, which also slows the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) relative to the solar wind ions and subsequently creates a Lorentz force in the frame of the solar wind. The Lorentz force in the solar wind frame accelerates ions in the opposite direction of cometary pickup ion flow, and is necessary to conserve momentum. Methods. Data from the Ion and Electron Sensor are studied over several intervals of interest when significant solar wind deflection was observed. The deflections for protons and for He++ were compared with the flow of cometary pickup ions using the instrument's frame of reference. We then fit the data with a three-dimensional Maxwellian, and rotated the flow vectors into the Comet Sun Equatorial coordinate system, and compared the flow to the spacecraft's position and to the local IMF conditions. Results. Our observations show that the solar wind may be deflected in excess of 45° from the anti-sunward direction. Furthermore, the deflections change direction on a variable timescale. Solar wind protons are consistently more deflected than the He++. The deflections are not ordered by the spacecraft's position relative to the comet, but large changes in deflection are related to changes in the orthogonal IMF components

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 583, article id A21
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Other Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering
Research subject
Onboard space systems
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URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-2410DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201526046ISI: 000365072200049Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84946572948Local ID: 00865d94-2464-45e9-8794-c95d75a9d964OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-2410DiVA, id: diva2:975262
Note

Validerad; 2015; Nivå 2; 20151123 (andbra)

Available from: 2016-09-29 Created: 2016-09-29 Last updated: 2018-07-10Bibliographically approved

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