Charged dust dynamics above the surface of a comet far from the Sun

A. Juhász, K. Szego

Research output: Article

6 Citations (Scopus)


We investigate the dynamics of small dust particles ejected from the sunlit side of the nucleus of a comet far from the Sun. The motion of these particles is determined by gravity, electromagnetic forces, and solar radiation pressure. The nucleus is not shielded from either the solar wind or the, solar UV radiation; therefore the surface of the nucleus absorbs electrons and protons and emits photo-electrons. As a result, the surface gets positively charged. Above the nuclear surface a photoelectron plasma sheath forms in which the ejected dust grains collect electrostatic charges and become responsive to the electric field in the sheath. We show that most of the dust cloud created by an impact (e.g., a lander) will settle after a few (∼ 4) hours elsewhere and not in the close vicinity of the impact site (i.e., on the lander itself).

Original languageEnglish
Article number97JA02991
Pages (from-to)12015-12022
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Issue numberA6
Publication statusPublished - jan. 1 1998


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology

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