Volume 614, June 2018
|Number of page(s)||10|
|Section||Planets and planetary systems|
|Published online||11 June 2018|
A tail like no other
The RPC-MAG view of Rosetta’s tail excursion at comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko
Space Research Institute, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Schmiedlstr. 6, 8042 Graz, Austria
2 Institute for Geophysics and Extraterrestrial Physics, Technische Universtität Braunschweig, Mendelssohnstrasse 3, Braunschweig 38106, Germany
Accepted: 6 December 2017
Context. The Rosetta Plasma Consortium (RPC) magnetometer (MAG) data during the tail excursion in March–April 2016 are used to investigate the magnetic structure of and activity in the tail region of the weakly outgassing comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko (67P).
Aims. The goal of this study is to compare the large scale (near) tail structure with that of earlier missions to strong outgassing comets, and the small scale turbulent energy cascade (un)related to the singing comet phenomenon.
Methods. The usual methods of space plasma physics are used to analyse the magnetometer data, such as minimum variance analysis, spectral analysis, and power law fitting. Also the cone angle and clock angle of the magnetic field are calculated to interpret the data.
Results. It is found that comet 67P does not have a classical draped magnetic field and no bi-lobal tail structure at this late stage of the mission when the comet is already at 2.7 AU distance from the Sun. The main magnetic field direction seems to be more across the tail direction, which may implicate an asymmetric pick-up cloud. During periods of singing comet activity the propagation direction of the waves is at large angles with respect to the magnetic field and to the radial direction towards the comet. Turbulent cascade of magnetic energy from large to small scales is different in the presence of singing as without it.
Key words: plasmas / comets: individual: 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimanko
© ESO 2018
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