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Title: PROBING THE SOLAR WIND ACCELERATION REGION WITH THE SUN-GRAZING COMET C/2002 S2

Comet C/2002 S2, a member of the Kreutz family of sungrazing comets, was discovered in white-light images of the Large Angle and Spectromeric Coronagraph Experiment coronagraph on the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) on 2002 September 18 and observed in H I Lyα emission by the SOHO Ultraviolet Coronagraph Spectrometer (UVCS) instrument at four different heights as it approached the Sun. The H I Lyα line profiles detected by UVCS are analyzed to determine the spectral parameters: line intensity, width, and Doppler shift with respect to the coronal background. Two-dimensional comet images of these parameters are reconstructed at the different heights. A novel aspect of the observations of this sungrazing comet data is that, whereas the emission from most of the tail is blueshifted, that along one edge of the tail is redshifted. We attribute these shifts to a combination of solar wind speed and interaction with the magnetic field. In order to use the comet to probe the density, temperature, and speed of the corona and solar wind through which it passes, as well as to determine the outgassing rate of the comet, we develop a Monte Carlo simulation of the H I Lyα emission of a comet movingmore » through a coronal plasma. From the outgassing rate, we estimate a nucleus diameter of about 9 m. This rate steadily increases as the comet approaches the Sun, while the optical brightness decreases by more than a factor of 10 and suddenly recovers. This indicates that the optical brightness is determined by the lifetimes of the grains, sodium atoms, and molecules produced by the comet.« less
Authors:
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [5]
  1. INAF-Osservatorio Astrofisico di Torino, via Osservatorio 20, I-10025 Pino Torinese (Italy)
  2. Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138 (United States)
  3. Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Marseille, 38 rue Frédéric Joliot-Curie, F-13388 Marseille cedex 13 (France)
  4. Computer Science Corporation, 3700 San Martin Drive, Baltimore, MD 21218 (United States)
  5. European Southern Observatory, Karl Schwarzschild Strasse 2, D-85748 Garching (Germany)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22364732
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 798; 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; ACCELERATION; BRIGHTNESS; COMETS; COMPUTERIZED SIMULATION; DOPPLER EFFECT; LIFETIME; MAGNETIC FIELDS; MOLECULES; MONTE CARLO METHOD; PLASMA; PROBES; SODIUM; SOLAR CORONA; SOLAR WIND; SUN; TWO-DIMENSIONAL CALCULATIONS; ULTRAVIOLET RADIATION; VISIBLE RADIATION