The Interaction of the Solar Wind with a Comet

Conference paper


In 1951 Biermann [2] detected the solar wind as the agent, which shapes the cometary plasma to an extended tail. Numerical model calculations for the interaction of the solar wind with a comet started in 1967 with a simplified one-dimensional model [3]. Since then the model prospered and matured from hydrodynamics to MHD and grew from one to three dimensions [5]. A comprehensive presentation of the results was given by Schmidt and Wegmann [6]. Recently the model got new impact from the collaboration with the group of Huebner in Los Alamos [4]. Last year it had to face the major challenge posed by the ICE spacecraft, which made the first in situ measurements of a cometary plasma. I report here on some improvements which we included recently in this “Schmidt-Wegmann-model”. Furthermore I present some results, which we obtain for a comet like comet Giacobini-Zinner and compare these with the data from the ICE spacecraft.


Solar Wind Field Line Shock Front Interplanetary Magnetic Field Elastic Collision 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut für AstrophysikMax-Planck-Institut für Physik und AstrophysikGarchingFed. Rep. of Germany

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