Rapid pickup of cometary ions due to strong magnetic turbulence


  • C. S. Wu,

  • D. Winske,

  • J. D. Gaffrey Jr.


Magnetic turbulence observed with the ICE spacecraft near Giacobini-Zinner indicates that the energy density of the fluctuating field is higher than the thermal energy density of the solar wind plasma. We show that in the presence of such strong turbulence the newly created ions are assimilated into the solar wind very rapidly. The time scale for the assimilation process is estimated and shown to be on the order of 100 sec which is consistent with the ICE results for the H2O+ cometary ions.