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Title: PREDICTIONS OF ION PRODUCTION RATES AND ION NUMBER DENSITIES WITHIN THE DIAMAGNETIC CAVITY OF COMET 67P/CHURYUMOV-GERASIMENKO AT PERIHELION

We present a one-dimensional ion chemistry model of the diamagnetic cavity of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the target comet for the ESA Rosetta mission. We solve the continuity equations for ionospheric species and predict number densities of electrons and selected ions considering only gas-phase reactions. We apply the model to the subsolar direction and consider conditions expected to be encountered by Rosetta at perihelion (1.29 AU) in 2015 August. Our default simulation predicts a maximum electron number density of {approx}8 Multiplication-Sign 10{sup 4} cm{sup -3} near the surface of the comet, while the electron number densities for cometocentric distances r > 10 km are approximately proportional to 1/r {sup 1.23} assuming that the electron temperature is equal to the neutral temperature. We show that even a small mixing ratio ({approx}0.3%-1%) of molecules having higher proton affinity than water is sufficient for the proton transfer from H{sub 3}O{sup +} to occur so readily that other ions than H{sub 3}O{sup +}, such as NH{sub 4} {sup +} or CH{sub 3}OH{sub 2} {sup +}, become dominant in terms of volume mixing ratio in part of, if not throughout, the diamagnetic cavity. Finally, we test how the predicted electron and ion densities are influenced by changesmore » of model input parameters, including the neutral background, the impinging EUV solar spectrum, the solar zenith angle, the cross sections for photo- and electron-impact processes, the electron temperature profile, and the temperature dependence of ion-neutral reactions.« less
Authors:
;  [1]
  1. Department of Physics, Imperial College London, London SW7 2AZ (United Kingdom)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22121890
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 772; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; AFFINITY; CAVITIES; CHEMISTRY; COMETS; CONTINUITY EQUATIONS; CROSS SECTIONS; DENSITY; ELECTRON TEMPERATURE; ELECTRONS; ESA; EXTREME ULTRAVIOLET SPECTRA; METHANOL; MIXING RATIO; MOLECULES; ONE-DIMENSIONAL CALCULATIONS; OXONIUM IONS; PROTONS; TEMPERATURE DEPENDENCE; WATER