Stability of the cometary ionopause

A. I. Ershkovich, W. I. Axford, W. H. Ip, K. R. Flammer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


MHD stability of the cometary ionopause is discussed in the context of the Giotto mission to comet Halley. A mechanism associated with the plasma compressibility is suggested here as being responsible for the apparent stability of the Halley ionopause: when the phase velocity of surface waves at the ionopause approaches the fast magnetoacoustic speed the unstable surface waves are transformed into stable body waves in the whole fluid resulting in an effective damping of the instability. The effects of both mass loading (due to photoionization) and dissociative recombination are also studied.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-308
Number of pages4
JournalAdvances in Space Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1989


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