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Conference Papers Year : 2016

Ion Acoustic Waves Observed at Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

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H. Gunell
  • Function : Author
H. Nilsson
  • Function : Author
M. Hamrin
  • Function : Author
A. Eriksson
  • Function : Author
R. Maggiolo
  • Function : Author
K. Altwegg
  • Function : Author
C. Y. Tzou
  • Function : Author
M. Rubin
  • Function : Author
K. H. Glassmeier
  • Function : Author
G. Stenberg Wieser
  • Function : Author
C. Simon Wedlund
  • Function : Author
J. de Keyser
F. Dhooghe
  • Function : Author
G. Cessateur
  • Function : Author
A. Gibbons
  • Function : Author

Abstract

We present observations of ion acoustic waves at Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko performed on 20 January 2015 when the Rosetta spacecraft was located near the terminator, 28 km from the nucleus of the comet. At the time of the observations the activity of the comet was still low. We use distribution functions obtained by the Ion Composition Analyser of the Rosetta Plasma Consortium (RPC-ICA) and electron temperature estimatesfrom the Langmuir Probes (RPC-LAP) to compute dispersion relations for waves on the ion timescale, and compare the results to spectra obtained by RPC-LAP. The peaks of the wave spectra appear at frequencies near 500 Hz. We perform cross-calibrations between RPC-ICA, RPC-LAP, and the Mutual Impedance Probe (RPC-MIP). Matching the dispersion relations to the wave observations helps us to form an estimate of the plasma density. At times when there is significant wave activity the water ion distribution is constituted by a cold (0.01 eV) population of locally produced ions and a thin tail of ions that have been accelerated by an electric field. The tail is approximately unidirectional, covering a wide velocity range, and centred at 20km/s in the spacecraft frame. At other times a warm (approximately 1 eV), mainly isotropic, ion population renders the ion acoustic mode heavily damped, and no waves are observed. Observations of the neutral density by the ROSINA COPS instrument indicate that frictional heating by the radial neutral flow contributes to this warm ion population. This work was supported by the Belgian Science Policy Office through the Solar-Terrestrial Centre of Excellence and by PRODEX/ROSETTA/ROSINA PEA 4000107705.
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Dates and versions

insu-03573489 , version 1 (14-02-2022)

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H. Gunell, H. Nilsson, M. Hamrin, A. Eriksson, R. Maggiolo, et al.. Ion Acoustic Waves Observed at Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. American Geophysical Union, 2016, San Francisco, United States. ⟨insu-03573489⟩
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