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On positively charged dust in the coma of comet 67P
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Swedish Institute of Space Physics, Uppsala Division.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2647-8259
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Swedish Institute of Space Physics, Uppsala Division.
2022 (English)In: Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, ISSN 0035-8711, E-ISSN 1365-2966, Vol. 513, no 1, p. 536-540Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Moment analysis of ion spectrograms measured by the Ion Composition Analyser (ICA) in the coma of comet 67P typically produces an ion number density estimate markedly lower than the number density of free electrons as measured by the Mutual Impedance Probe and the dual Langmuir Probe. While there are good reasons to distrust the ion density moment estimate in these circumstances, the issue cannot yet be considered fully understood and it is of interest to see whether any natural non-instrumental cause is possible. An obvious such cause would be whether a significant fraction of the positive charge density resides in positively charged dust grains that are not measured by the ICA. Here, we show that this scenario is highly unlikely, even near perihelion where photoemission is the strongest. In our semi-analytical grain charging model, we balance the current contributions to grains of photoelectron emission and electron attachment so as to find the expected charge state for a grain of a given radius. The charge state is affected by the ambient electron number density, the electron temperature, and the heliocentric distance. While at times the bulk of the dust population around comet 67P could be charged positive, dust charging, including photoelectron emission, should have a negligible influence on the overall ionization balance in the cometary coma simply because the dust particles are not ubiquitous enough.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxford University Press (OUP) , 2022. Vol. 513, no 1, p. 536-540
Keywords [en]
comets: general, comets: individual: 67P
National Category
Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology Fusion, Plasma and Space Physics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-474114DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stac869ISI: 000785870200006OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-474114DiVA, id: diva2:1657003
Available from: 2022-05-09 Created: 2022-05-09 Last updated: 2022-05-09Bibliographically approved

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Vigren, Erik

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