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Deep Space 1 at comet 19P/Borrelly: Magnetic field and plasma observations

Planetary and Space Science
DOI: 10.1016/j.pss.2011.02.001
  • 19P/Borrelly
  • Comets
  • Cometary Shocks
  • Deep Space 1
  • Field Draping
  • Magnetic Field
  • Magnetospheres
  • Pileup
  • Solar Wind
  • Astronomy
  • Physics


Abstract On September 22, 2001 the Deep Space 1 spacecraft performed a flyby at comet 19P/Borrelly at a solar distance of 1.36AU leading the Earth by 74∘ in longitude. The spacecraft–comet distance at closest approach was 2171km. The bow shock had a magnetic compression ratio of 2.5 at a distance of 147100km from the nucleus. Deep Space 1 first entered the sheath region essentially from the north polar region. Fluctuations from the cometary ion pickup were present throughout the sheath region and even well upstream of the shock, as expected. The magnetic field pileup region had a peak field strength of 83nT and was shown to be consistent with a pressure equal to the solar wind ram pressure. The peak field location was offset from the time of closest approach. It is uncertain whether this is a spatial or temporal variation. Draping of magnetic fields around the nucleus was sought, but evidence for this was not apparent in the data. A possible explanation is that the interplanetary solar wind was composed of turbulent short-scale fields, and thus the fields were not symmetric about the point of closest approach. During the flyby phase there were in general few intervals of ACE data where there were large scale Parker spiral fields. With the addition of plasma data, the shock properties are investigated. The characteristics of magnetic draping, pileup and fluctuations are explored. These comet 19P/Borrelly results are contrasted with other cometary flyby results.

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