Plasma wave turbulence in the strong coupling region at comet Giacobini-Zinner


  • F. V. Coroniti,

  • C. F. Kennel,

  • F. L. Scarf,

  • E. J. Smith,

  • B. T. Tsurutani,

  • S. J. Bame,

  • M. F. Thomsen,

  • R. Hynds,

  • K. P. Wenzel


Within 105 km of comet Giacobini-Zinner's nucleus, strong plasma wave turbulence was detected by the ICE electric and magnetic field wave instruments. The spatial profiles of the wave amplitudes are compared with measurements of the heavy ion fluxes of cometary origin, the plasma electron density, and the magnetic field strength. The general similarity of the wave and heavy ion profiles suggest that the waves might be generated by free energy in the pick-up ion distribution function. However, the expected parallel streaming instability of electrostatic modes generates waves with frequencies that are too low to explain the observations. The observed low frequency magnetic turbulence is plausibly explained by the lower hybrid loss-cone instability of heavy ions.