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Persistent URL http://purl.org/net/epubs/work/11260710
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Record Id 11260710
Title Analysis and Interpretation of Comet Measurements from SMEI
Abstract The Solar Mass Ejection Imager (SMEI) has observed several comets and traced their plasma tails as far as 108 km from their nucleus. A time sequence of SMEI orbital sky maps displays considerable tail motion and disruption for several of these comets. Tracking these motions versus time, when combined with ephemeris information about their distance from the Earth allows a determination of solar wind speeds and their variation with the location of the comet. In the case of comets C/2001 Q4 (NEAT) and C/2002 T7 (LINEAR), which passed within about 0.3 AU of Earth in April and May of 2004, the SMEI observations show that speeds during disruptions are typically 50 to 100 km s-1 less than speeds before and after. Time durations of the disturbances vary between 3 and 8 hours, and correspond to distances traversed by the comets of \ 106 km (0.007 AU). We compare these observations with interplanetary scintillation (IPS) three-dimensional tomographic reconstructions and find no evidence that the comet-tail features are due to large-scale density or velocity structures. We also compare these with near-by spacecraft measurements such as the Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE), and find a similar result. This suggests that the comet-tail disruptions are caused by small-scale changes in the solar wind acting over distances that are short compared with 1 AU.
Organisation SSTD , STFC
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Language English (EN)
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Journal Article AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts (2007). 2007