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Title: ON THE POSSIBILITY OF SIGNIFICANT ELECTRON DEPLETION DUE TO NANOGRAIN CHARGING IN THE COMA OF COMET 67P/CHURYUMOV-GERASIMENKO NEAR PERIHELION

We approach the complicated phenomena of gas-dust interactions in a cometary ionosphere, focusing in particular on the possibility of significant depletion in electron number density due to grain charging. Our one-dimensional ionospheric model, accounting for grain charging processes, is applied to the subsolar direction and the diamagnetic cavity of 67P/Churyuomov-Gerasimenko, the target comet for the ESA Rosetta mission, at perihelion (∼1.25-1.30 AU). We argue on the one hand that grains with radii >100 nm are unlikely to significantly affect the overall ionospheric particle balance within this environment, at least for cometocentric distances >10 km. On the other hand, if nanograins with radii in the 1-3 nm range are ejected to the coma at a level of ∼1% with respect to the mass of the sublimated gas, a significant electron depletion is expected up to cometocentric distances of several tens of kilometers. We relate these results to the recent Cassini discoveries of very pronounced electron depletion compared with the positive ion population in the plume of Enceladus, which has been attributed to nanograin charging.
Authors:
; ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [3]
  1. Swedish Institute of Space physics, Uppsala (Sweden)
  2. Department of Physics, Imperial College London, London (United Kingdom)
  3. Groupe de Spectrométrie Moléculaire et Atmosphérique, Université Reims Champagne-Ardenne, UMR 7331, F-51687 Reims (France)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22364612
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 798; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; CATIONS; COMETS; COMPARATIVE EVALUATIONS; COSMIC DUST; DENSITY; DISTANCE; ELECTRON DENSITY; ELECTRONS; IONOSPHERE; MASS; NANOSTRUCTURES; ONE-DIMENSIONAL CALCULATIONS; PARTICLES; PLUMES