Cometary Linear Instabilities: from Profusion to Perspective

  1. Alan Johnstone
  1. A.L. Brinca

Published Online: 26 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1029/GM061p0211

Cometary Plasma Processes

Cometary Plasma Processes

How to Cite

Brinca, A.L. (1991) Cometary Linear Instabilities: from Profusion to Perspective, in Cometary Plasma Processes (ed A. Johnstone), American Geophysical Union, Washington, D. C.. doi: 10.1029/GM061p0211

Author Information

  1. Centro de Electrodinâmica, Instituto Superior Técnicop-1096 Lisboa Codex, Portugal

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 26 MAR 2013
  2. Published Print: 1 JAN 1991

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780875900278

Online ISBN: 9781118663660



  • Comets;
  • Space plasmas;
  • Astrophysics


This theoretical review of linear cometary instabilities attempts to provide some guidance to the nonspecialist on the interpretation of the large variety of growing wave modes fed by newborn particles. It emphasizes the underlying phenomenology, presents stability criteria of general applicability, and draws attention to a few caveats. Outlines of standard, and alternative models for the description of the intervening plasma media precede the statement of stability results, and the discussion of wave-particle interactions, resonant and nonresonant instabilities, parallel and oblique propagation, multiple-ion effects and electrostatic modes.