Comet Halley | Published:

Plasma observation by Suisei of solar-wind interaction with comet Halley

Nature volume 321, pages 299303 (15 May 1986) | Download Citation

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Abstract

The Suisei probe1 made a closest approach of 151,000 km to comet Halley at 13:06 UT on 6 March 1986, and during the encounter Suisei passed through a strong interaction region, where the solar-wind flow was severely perturbed by picked-up ions of cometary origin. Plasma observations from Suisei clearly demonstrate the existence of the assimilation process of cometary ions in the solar-wind flow. Within 2.3 × 105 km of the cometary nucleus, shell structures in the velocity space of cometary protons and watergroup ions were clearly seen. Other ions, such as CO+ (and/or N2+) and CH+ (and/or C+), were also identified from the E/q spectrum. An abrupt change of the plasma parameter was detected around 4.5 × 105 km away from the nucleus, which probably represents the bow-wave crossing. The mass-loading effect was observed at a distance of up to 1 × 106 km.

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Author information

Affiliations

  1. Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, 6-1 Komaba, Megoru-ku, Tokyo 153, Japan

    • T. Mukai
    • , T. Terasawa
    •  & M. Kitayama
  2. Faculty of Science, Tohoku University, Aramaki, Aoba, Sendai 980, Japan

    • W. Miyake
  3. Faculty of Engineering, Tokai University, Kita-kaname, Hiratsuka-shi, Kanagawa 259-12, Japan

    • K. Hirao

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https://doi.org/10.1038/321299a0

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