Dust particles detected near Giacobini-Zinner by the ICE Plasma Wave Instrument



During the ICE flyby of Giacobini-Zinner the plasma wave instrument detected numerous impulsive signals caused by dust impacts on the spacecraft. Most of the impacts occurred within 30,000 km of the comet. The impact rate averaged over the inbound and outbound legs varies approximately as 1/r², as would be expected for an isotropic constant velocity radial outflow. Small differences between the inbound and outbound legs exist which may be indicative of azimuthal variations in the dust production rate. A simple model of the impact ionization and charge collection by the antenna indicates that the particles have a mass on the order of 10−12 to 10−10 gm, corresponding to particles with radii of a few microns.