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A disturbance of the ion tail of comet Halley and the heliospheric structure as observed by Sakigake


  • Takao Saito,

  • Kiyohumi Yumoto,

  • Kunio Hirao,

  • Keiji Saito,

  • Tomoko Nakagawa,

  • Edward J. Smith


In order to study the interaction between the solar wind measured by Sakigake and ion tail disturbances of comet Halley, more than 500 photographs of the comet taken on the ground during this apparition are surveyed. The focus of the present study is the December 31, 1985, event, when various types of disturbances occurred, including an outstanding disconnection event (DE)- like knot. Analysis of the Sakigake/IMF data reveals that comet Halley did not encounter the heliospheric neutral sheet on that day, demanding a new explanation for the DE-like event, different from the Niedner-Brandt model. During this event the comet encountered a high-speed solar wind stream from a coronal hole tongue of the sun. The event can be explained by a dynamic pressure model, according to which the DE-like plasmoid was caused by a sudden increase in the dynamic pressure of the solar wind. A result of the simulation work by Ogino is found to support this interpretation.

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