Low-pass filtered data from the ICE electron spectrometer are used to examine relationships between plasma densities, flow speeds, flow directions, and temperatures at distances within ∼105 km of the Comet Giacobini-Zinner nucleus. The sheath/transition region is characterized by electron temperatures of ∼4 × 105K but with flow speeds and densities that commonly vary by factors of three or more. The largest amplitude density spikes often have significant flow changes associated with them, but a consistent pattern (as might accompany cometary rays, for example) is not found. Power spectral analyses in and near the sheath/transition regions show that density fluctuation levels are enhanced at all detectable frequencies from ∼0 to 21 mHz, consistent with strong density fluctuations on all measured time scales. Marginally significant power peaks are seen at periods of ∼4 min on the inbound pass and at ∼2 min on the outbound pass. Mechanisms such as amplification of convected ion pick-up waves and cometary rays for producing the large plasma variations are discussed. It is also suggested that a Rayleigh-Taylor driven mixing mechanism at a mass loading boundary ∼105 km from the nucleus may be operative.
If you can't find a tool you're looking for, please click the link at the top of the page to "Go to old article view". Alternatively, view our Knowledge Base articles for additional help. Your feedback is important to us, so please let us know if you have comments or ideas for improvement.