Ultraviolet aurora seen on Comet 67P / Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Using data from various devices on ESA’s Rosetta mission, researchers have found evidence of a distant ultraviolet aurora on Comet 67P / Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
This mosaic of four false-color images contains images taken on February 3, 2015 from a distance of 28.7 km from the center of Comet 67P / Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The mosaic measures 4.2 x 4.6 km.
On Earth, the aurora occurs when electrically charged particles accelerating from the sun hit the upper atmosphere to form a glow of green, white, and red.
In other parts of the solar system, Jupiter and some of its moons, as well as Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and even Mars, have exhibited their own version of the aurora.
The Rosetta spacecraft survived Comet 67P / Churyumov-Gerasimenko for more than two years.
The data from the current study is based on what Rosetta scientists initially interpreted as “ow deglo,” the process of contact with the coma caused by photons and surrounding the comet’s nucleus.
But the new analysis of the Rosetta data offers a very different picture. 67P / Churyumov-Gerasimenko has a kind of glow around him, lead authors Drs. Marina Galand is a researcher at Imperial College London.
“By combining data from multiple Rosetta devices, we were able to get a better picture of what we were doing.”
“This allowed us to identify how the ultraviolet atomic forms of 67P / Churyumov-Gerasimenko occur.”
Source of energetic electrons responsible for the emission of far ultraviolet (FUV) in comet 67P / Churyumov-Gerasimenko: electron paths of the solar wind inducing auroras FUV around the comet; They undergo an acceleration through the ambipolar electric field created by the complement plasma.
Electron trajectories are shown along energy color-coded lines and the ambipolar electric field acting on electrons is filled with green arrows. The data indicates that the 67P / Churyumov-Gerasimenko emission are actually antennas in nature.
Electrons flowing into the solar wind interact with the gas in the comet’s coma, breaking down water and other molecules. The resulting atoms emit a specific far ultraviolet light.
The naked eye far ultraviolet has the shortest radiation wavelength in the ultraviolet spectrum.
Exploring the 67P / Churyumov-Gerasimenko emission will help researchers understand how particles in the solar wind change over time, something that is important for understanding space weather throughout the solar system.
By providing better information on how radiation from the sun affects the atmosphere of space, such information can ultimately help protect satellites and spacecraft, as well as astronauts traveling to the moon and to Mars. .
Johns Hopkins University scientists Drs. Paul Feldman said, “Rosetta is the gift that keeps on giving.”
“You have returned to Comet’s two-year journey into the data hoard, which has allowed us to rewrite the book on these more extraterrestrial inhabitants of our solar system, and there is still much to come.”