Estimating the solar wind pressure at comet 67P from Rosetta magnetic field measurements

Aniko Timar, Zoltan Nemeth, Karoly Szego, Melinda Dósa, Andrea Opitz, Hadi Madanian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)


Aims: The solar wind pressure is an important parameter of space weather, which plays a crucial role in the interaction of the solar wind with the planetary plasma environment. Here we investigate the possibility of determining a solar wind pressure proxy from Rosetta magnetic field data, measured deep inside the induced magnetosphere of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. This pressure proxy would be useful not only for other Rosetta related studies but could also serve as a new, independent input database for space weather propagation to other locations in the Solar System. Method: For the induced magnetospheres of comets the magnetic pressure in the innermost part of the pile-up region is balanced by the solar wind dynamic pressure. Recent investigations of Rosetta data have revealed that the maximum magnetic field in the pile-up region can be approximated by magnetic field measurements performed in the inner regions of the cometary magnetosphere, close to the boundary of the diamagnetic cavity, from which the external solar wind pressure can be estimated. Results: We were able to determine a solar wind pressure proxy for the time interval when the Rosetta spacecraft was located near the diamagnetic cavity boundary, between late April 2015 and January 2016. We then compared our Rosetta pressure proxy to solar wind pressure extrapolated to comet 67P from near-Earth. After the exclusion of disturbances caused by transient events, we found a strong correlation between the two datasets.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA3
JournalJournal of Space Weather and Space Climate
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Magnetic field
  • Pressure
  • Solar wind
  • Space weather
  • Unmagnetized body

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science
  • Space and Planetary Science

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