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Unipolar interaction of Mercury with the solar wind; the steady state bow shock problem

Authors
Journal
Earth and Planetary Science Letters
0012-821X
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
14
Issue
3
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/0012-821x(72)90132-x
Disciplines
  • Astronomy
  • Physics

Abstract

Abstract The steady state electromagnetic interaction of the solar wind with the planet Mercury is computed for a spectrum of electrical conductivity functions using the assumption that no atmosphere or planetary magnetic field prohibits the direct interaction. The form of the induction is described by the unipolar effect and corresponds to the zero frequency limit of a transverse magnetic (TM) mode. Calculations are included to determine the effective surface temperature of the planet. These calculations include the apparent motion of the Sun in the Hermean sky. It is shown that a significant interaction, detectable by a space probe, is plausible for reasonable conductivity functions. The strength of the interaction is considered in terms of the subsurface thermal gradient, and computations are given relating the strength of the solar wind interaction with the conductivity parameters.

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