Observations of the plasma flow in comet P/Swift-Tuttle
Article first published online: 7 DEC 2012
Copyright 1993 by the American Geophysical Union.
Geophysical Research Letters
Volume 20, Issue 11, pages 1003–1006, 7 June 1993
How to Cite
- Issue published online: 7 DEC 2012
- Article first published online: 7 DEC 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 16 APR 1993
- Manuscript Received: 22 MAR 1993
We present direct ground based observations of the plasma flow sunward and tailward of the nucleus of comet P/Swift-Tuttle. The observations are long-slit high resolution spectra of the H2O+ emission centered at 6199Å with a velocity resolution of about 7 km s−1 (FWHM) and a spatial resolution of about 104 km at the comet. Emission is visible from just inside the predicted position of the cometopause on the sunward side of the nucleus out to 5×105 km on the tailward side. The deceleration of the solar plasma on the sunward side is clearly observed as is the acceleration of cometary ions into the tail. These observations show the effectiveness of ground based methods for the systematic study of cometary plasmas and point to the need for a better theoretical understanding of their acceleration mechanisms.