Articles | Volume 34, issue 7
Regular paper
14 Jul 2016
Regular paper |  | 14 Jul 2016

Two-point observations of low-frequency waves at 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko during the descent of PHILAE: comparison of RPCMAG and ROMAP

Ingo Richter, Hans-Ulrich Auster, Gerhard Berghofer, Chris Carr, Emanuele Cupido, Karl-Heinz Fornaçon, Charlotte Goetz, Philip Heinisch, Christoph Koenders, Bernd Stoll, Bruce T. Tsurutani, Claire Vallat, Martin Volwerk, and Karl-Heinz Glassmeier

Abstract. The European Space Agency's spacecraft ROSETTA has reached its final destination, comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Whilst orbiting in the close vicinity of the nucleus the ROSETTA magnetometers detected a new type of low-frequency wave possibly generated by a cross-field current instability due to freshly ionized cometary water group particles. During separation, descent and landing of the lander PHILAE on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, we used the unique opportunity to perform combined measurements with the magnetometers onboard ROSETTA (RPCMAG) and its lander PHILAE (ROMAP). New details about the spatial distribution of wave properties along the connection line of the ROSETTA orbiter and the lander PHILAE are revealed. An estimation of the observed amplitude, phase and wavelength distribution will be presented as well as the measured dispersion relation, characterizing the new type of low-frequency waves. The propagation direction and polarization features will be discussed using the results of a minimum variance analysis. Thoughts about the size of the wave source will complete our study.

Short summary
We have analysed the magnetic field measurements performed on the ROSETTA orbiter and the lander PHILAE during PHILAE's descent to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on 12 November 2014. We observed a new type of low-frequency wave with amplitudes of ~ 3 nT, frequencies of 20–50 mHz, wavelengths of ~ 300 km, and propagation velocities of ~ 6 km s−1. The waves are generated in a ~ 100 km region around the comet a show a highly correlated behaviour, which could only be determined by two-point observations.