The Bow Wave of Comet Giacobini-Zinner: Ice Magnetic Field Observations

  1. Thomas J. Birmingham and
  2. Alexander J. Dessler
  1. D.E. Jones1,
  2. E.J. Smith2,
  3. J.A. Slavin2,
  4. B.T. Tsurutani2,
  5. G.L. Siscoe3 and
  6. D.A. Mendis4

Published Online: 19 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1029/SP027p0149

Comet Encounters

Comet Encounters

How to Cite

Jones, D.E., Smith, E.J., Slavin, J.A., Tsurutani, B.T., Siscoe, G.L. and Mendis, D.A. (1988) The Bow Wave of Comet Giacobini-Zinner: Ice Magnetic Field Observations, in Comet Encounters (eds T. J. Birmingham and A. J. Dessler), American Geophysical Union, Washington, D.C.. doi: 10.1029/SP027p0149

Author Information

  1. 1

    Department of Physics and Astronomy, Brigham Young University

  2. 2

    Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology

  3. 3

    Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of California at Los Angeles

  4. 4

    Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, University of California at San Diego

Publication History

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

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780875902395

Online ISBN: 9781118668757



  • Bow wave;
  • Comet centered solar ecliptic;
  • Comet Giacobini-Zinner;
  • Ice magnetic field data;
  • Plasma measurements


Fitting of a Mach 2 shock surface to the ICE magnetic field data obtained near comet Giacobini-Zinner has provided subsolar bow wave distances that infer neutral gas outflow rates comparable to previous measurements, and orientations of the bow wave symmetry axis that are consistent with the plasma measurements and motion of the comet relative to the solar wind. Mach values of 1.5–2 and transition thicknesses of the order of 104 km are inferred when the field magnitude and variance data are compared. Cross spectra of the transverse field components in and near the bow wave exhibit a peak near 10−2 Hz, or near the cyclotron frequency of ions from the water group. However, the level of turbulence is not consistent with that observed for similar configurations at planetary bow shocks.