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Mass-loading of the solar wind at 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko: Observations and modelling
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering, Space Technology.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0177-510X
Swedish Institute of Space Physics, Kiruna.
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering, Space Technology.
Swedish Institute of Space Physics, Kiruna.
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Number of Authors: 72016 (English)In: Astronomy and Astrophysics, ISSN 0004-6361, E-ISSN 1432-0746, Vol. 596, article id A42Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Context. The first long-term in-situ observation of the plasma environment in the vicinity of a comet, as provided by the European Rosetta spacecraft. Aims. Here we offer characterisation of the solar wind flow near 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (67P) and its long term evolution during low nucleus activity. We also aim to quantify and interpret the deflection and deceleration of the flow expected from ionization of neutral cometary particles within the undisturbed solar wind. Methods. We have analysed in situ ion and magnetic field data and combined this with hybrid modeling of the interaction between the solar wind and the comet atmosphere. Results. The solar wind deflection is increasing with decreasing heliocentric distances, and exhibits very little deceleration. This is seen both in observations and in modeled solar wind protons. According to our model, energy and momentum are transferred from the solar wind to the coma in a single region, centered on the nucleus, with a size in the order of 1000 km. This interaction affects, over larger scales, the downstream modeled solar wind flow. The energy gained by the cometary ions is a small fraction of the energy available in the solar wind. Conclusions. The deflection of the solar wind is the strongest and clearest signature of the mass-loading for a small, low-activity comet, whereas there is little deceleration of the solar wind

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 596, article id A42
National Category
Aerospace Engineering
Research subject
Atmospheric science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-61146DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201628797ISI: 000390797900062Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85000443624OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-61146DiVA, id: diva2:1057750
Note

Validerad; 2017; Nivå 2; 2016-12-19 (andbra)

Available from: 2016-12-19 Created: 2016-12-19 Last updated: 2018-07-10Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Solar Wind Dynamics within The Atmosphere of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Solar Wind Dynamics within The Atmosphere of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In this thesis, we explore the dynamics of the solar wind as it perme-ates and flows through a tenuous cometary atmosphere, with a focuson the interaction observed at comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.

Seven comets had already been visited by nine different probes when the European spacecraft Rosetta reached comet Churyumov–Gerasimenko in August 2014. The mission was however the first to orbit its host comet, which it did for a total duration of more than two years, corre-sponding to a large part of the comet’s orbit around the Sun. This en-abled to study how the dynamics of the plasma environment evolvedas the comet itself was transformed from one of the smallest obstaclesto the solar wind in the Solar System when far away from the Sun, toa well-established magnetosphere at perihelion.

Most of our efforts tackle the early part of this transformation, when the creation of new-born cometary ions starts to induce significant disturbances to the incident flow. During this stage, a kinetic descrip-tion of the interaction is necessary, as the system of interest cannot be reduced to a hydrodynamic problem. This contrasts with the situation closer to the Sun, where a fluid treatment can be used, at Churyumov–Gerasimenko as well as at previously visited comets.

Rosetta was not a mission dedicated to plasma studies, however. It directly translates into a limited spatial coverage of the cometary plasma environment, which by its nature extends over several spatial scales. An approach solely based on the analysis of in-situ data cannot properly address the major questions on the nature and physics of the plasma environment of Churyumov–Gerasimenko. This thesis there-fore largely exploits the experimental–analytical–numerical triad of approaches. In Chapters 3 and 4 we propose simple models of the ion dynamics and of the cometary plasma environment, and these are tested against experimental and numerical data. Used together,they give a global description of the solar wind ion dynamics through the cometary atmosphere, that we explore in the 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional cases (Chapter 5). In Chapter 6, we propose a view onthe interaction and its fluid aspects when closer to the Sun.

Abstract [sv]

I  denna  avhandling  undersöks  solvindens  dynamik  när  den  flödar genom  en  tunn  kometatmosfär,  med  fokus  på  den  interaktion  somobserverats vid kometen 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

När  Rosetta  nådde  from  till  komet  67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko  i augusti 2014 hade redan sju olika rymdfarkoster besökt nio olika ko- meter.  Rosetta  var  dock  den  första  missionen  som  cirklade  runt  en komet och följde den sedan i dess bana i totalt mer än två år. Detta motsvarade en signifikant del av hela kometens bana runt solen. Det- ta gjorde det möjligt att studera plasmats dynamiska utveckling un- der en period när kometen utvecklades från ett av de minsta hindren solvinden möter i solsystemet, när kometen är långt från solen, till enfullt utvecklad magnetosfär nära perihelion.

Avhandlingen behandlar främst den tidiga delen av denna utveckling, när nyligen joniserade molekyler från kometatmosfären börjar ge en signifikant störning i solvindens flöde. Under dessa förhållanden är en kinetisk beskrivning av växelverkan mellan solvinden och kome- tatmosfären  nödvändig.  Systemet  vi  studerar  kan  inte  reduceras  till ett hydrodynamiskt problem. Detta till skillnad från situationen när kometen är närmare solen, då växelverkan kan beskrivas med fluid- teori, för både Churyumov–Gerasimenko och de tidigare undersöktakometerna.

Rosetta var inte en mission främst ägnad åt plasma-studier. Detta med- förde begränsad rumslig täckning av de plasma-processer som äger rum, vilka äger rum över flera olika rumsskalor. Att förstå solvindens växleverkan  med  kometatmosfären  enbart  med  enpunktsmätningar låter sig därför inte göras. I detta arbete används därför en kombina- tion av experimentella data, analytiska beskrivningar och numeriska beräkningar. I kapitel 3 och 4 föreslår vi enkla modeller för att beskri- va jondynamiken och kometens plasmamiljö. Dessa testas sedan mot observationer och numeriska modeller. Tillsammans ger de en global beskrivning  av  solvindens  dynamik  när  den  flödar  genom  kometat- mosfären,  vilket  utforskas  i  både  2 och  3 dimensioner  (kapitel  5).  I kapitel 6 utforskar vi interaktionen som sker när kometen är närmaresolen, och hur den nu i högre grad kan beskrivas som en fluid.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Luleå: Luleå University of Technology, 2018
Series
Doctoral thesis / Luleå University of Technology 1 jan 1997 → …, ISSN 1402-1544
National Category
Fusion, Plasma and Space Physics Aerospace Engineering
Research subject
Space Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-68785 (URN)978-91-7790-156-3 (ISBN)978-91-7790-157-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-10-12, Aulan, IRF, Rymdcampus, Kiruna, 09:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-05-21 Created: 2018-05-18 Last updated: 2018-10-10Bibliographically approved

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