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Unusually high magnetic fields in the coma of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko during its high-activity phase
Tech Univ Carolo Wilhelmina Braunschweig, Inst Geophys & Extraterr Phys, Mendelssohnstr 3, D-38106 Braunschweig, Germany.
Jet Prop Lab, Pasadena, CA USA.
CNRS, LPC2E, Orleans, France.
Austrian Acad Sci, Inst Weltraumforsch, Schmiedlstr 6, Graz, Austria.
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2019 (English)In: Astronomy and Astrophysics, ISSN 0004-6361, E-ISSN 1432-0746, Vol. 630, article id A38Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Aims: On July 3, 2015, an unprecedented increase in the magnetic field magnitude was measured by the Rosetta spacecraft orbiting comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (67P). This increase was accompanied by large variations in magnetic field and ion and electron density and energy. To our knowledge, this unusual event marks the highest magnetic field ever measured in the plasma environment of a comet. Our goal here is to examine possible physical causes for this event, and to explain this reaction of the cometary plasma and magnetic field and its trigger.

Methods: We used observations from the entire Rosetta Plasma Consortium as well as energetic particle measurements from the Standard Radiation Monitor on board Rosetta to characterize the event. To provide context for the solar wind at the comet, observations at Earth were compared with simulations of the solar wind.

Results: We find that the unusual behavior of the plasma around 67P is of solar wind origin and is caused by the impact of an interplanetary coronal mass ejection, combined with a corotating interaction region. This causes the magnetic field to pile up and increase by a factor of six to about 300 nT compared to normal values of the enhanced magnetic field at a comet. This increase is only partially accompanied by an increase in plasma density and energy, indicating that the magnetic field is connected to different regions of the coma.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
EDP SCIENCES S A , 2019. Vol. 630, article id A38
Keywords [en]
comets: individual: 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, plasmas, magnetic fields, methods: data analysis
National Category
Fusion, Plasma and Space Physics Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-395680DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201833544ISI: 000486989400037OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-395680DiVA, id: diva2:1365073
Available from: 2019-10-23 Created: 2019-10-23 Last updated: 2019-10-23Bibliographically approved

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Edberg, Niklas J. T.Eriksson, Anders

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Swedish Institute of Space Physics, Uppsala Division
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