The International Cometary Explorer
The International Cometary Explorer (ICE) spacecraft passed through the plasma tail of comet Giacobini-Zinner (G/Z) on September 11, 1985 and made in situ measurements of particles, fields, and waves. The results establish comets and their interaction with the solar wind as a rich source of plasma physics phenomena. Time of closest approach to the comet was approximately 11:02 UT and occurred at a tailward distance of 7,800 km. The spacecraft was in the strong interaction region for roughly 3½ h, and spent about 10 min in the central tail region.
that the magnetic field capture and draping model, originated by Alfvén is correct. Oppositely-polarized magnetic tail lobes, and a current sheet separating them, were observed
that the comet/solar-wind interaction produced energetic ions, probably by the “pick-up” process
the presence of intense plasma wave activity
that the central plasma tail is dense and cold
that the principal ions are in the H2O+ —H3O+ group
that the bow wave, as seen on the flanks, is not a conventional shock, but resembles an extended interaction region
that impacts of micron-sized dust particles were detected.
an apparent detection of the comet via plasma wave and energetic particle measurements over the nuclear distance range 28,000,000 to 35,000,000 km.
that the total interaction region for a Halley-sized comet can be quite large.
Key wordsplasma tail plasma physics comet Giacobini-Zinner
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