Research Spotlight: Kelvin-Helmholtz waves observed in flyby of Mercury


  • Leslie Ofori,

  • Ernie Tretkoff


Kelvin-Helmholtz waves, the surface waves that form when two fluids with different speeds move past each other, can be created along the magnetopause when solar wind plasma interacts with a planet's magnetosphere. These waves have previously been observed in Earth's magnetosphere. Now they have been observed in Mercury's magnetosphere as well. On 29 September 2009, the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft flew by the planet Mercury for the third time.