36th DPS Meeting, 8-12 November 2004
Session 21 Comets: Nuclei
Oral, Wednesday, November 10, 2004, 10:30-12:00noon, Clark

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[21.02] Comet C/2002 V1 (NEAT) - Evidence of solar wind effects on a comet's ion and dust tails at 0.1 AU.

G. H. Jones (Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology), J. S. Morrill (Naval Research Laboratory), D. Hammer (Johns Hopkins University), C. M. Lisse, T. L. Farnham (University of Maryland), G. R. Lawrence (Royal Observatory of Belgium)

During February 16-20, 2003, comet C/2002 V1 (NEAT) was observed by the LASCO coronagraph aboard the ESA/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory spacecraft. During this period, the comet reached its perihelion at 0.1 AU from the Sun. The observing geometry was excellent, with the cometís orbital plane almost perpendicular to the line of sight. Images obtained using the instrumentís five optical-near IR broadband filters reveal an ion tail and a highly striated dust tail. The cometís extremely high gas and dust production rates were similar to those of C/1995 O1 (Hale-Bopp), but peaked in a much more extreme radiative and solar wind environment. Two large coronal mass ejections erupted in the general direction of the comet during the observations, the largest of which affected not only the ion tail but also the dust tail. We shall present our observations of the comet's ion, neutral gas, and dust components, suggesting an origin for the striae seen in the latter. We also present simulations of the interaction between the electrically-charged dust and the solar wind that demonstrate how major changes in the dust tail were caused by the CME's passage.

This research was performed while GHJ held a National Research Council Research Associateship Award at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.


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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 36 #4
© 2004. The American Astronomical Soceity.