Plasma Wave Turbulence in the Strong Coupling Region at Comet Giacobini-Zinner

  1. Thomas J. Birmingham and
  2. Alexander J. Dessler
  1. F.V. Coroniti1,
  2. C.F. Kennel1,
  3. F.L. Scarf1,
  4. E.J. Smith2,
  5. B.T. Tsurutani2,
  6. S.J. Bame3,
  7. M.F. Thomsen3,
  8. R. Hynds4 and
  9. K.P. Wenzel5

Published Online: 19 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1029/SP027p0094

Comet Encounters

Comet Encounters

How to Cite

Coroniti, F.V., Kennel, C.F., Scarf, F.L., Smith, E.J., Tsurutani, B.T., Bame, S.J., Thomsen, M.F., Hynds, R. and Wenzel, K.P. (1988) Plasma Wave Turbulence in the Strong Coupling Region at Comet Giacobini-Zinner, in Comet Encounters (eds T. J. Birmingham and A. J. Dessler), American Geophysical Union, Washington, D.C.. doi: 10.1029/SP027p0094

Author Information

  1. 1

    TRW Space and Technology Group, Redondo Beach, CA 90278

  2. 2

    Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA 91109

  3. 3

    Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM 87545

  4. 4

    Imperial College of Science and Technology, London, England

  5. 5

    ESTEC, Noordwijk, the Netherlands

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 19 MAR 2013
  2. Published Print: 1 JAN 1988

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780875902395

Online ISBN: 9781118668757



  • Comet Giacobini-Zinner;
  • Comet's interaction;
  • Heavy ions;
  • International Cometary Explorer (ICE);
  • Plasma electron density;
  • Plasma wave turbulence


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.