Solar wind interaction with the tail of Comet Kohoutek

A. I. Ershkovich*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Helical waves of large amplitude observed recently in the tail of Comet Kohoutek are interpreted as stable waves arising due to non-linear evolution of Kelvin-Helmholtz instability. The dispersion equation for waves of a finite amplitude shows that the phase velocity of these waves should approximately coincide with the velocity of the plasma outflow in the tail rather than with the Alfvén velocity. This fact is shown to be in agreement with observations. One may estimate the magnetic field in the Comet Kohoutek tail from both the amplitude of observed helical waves and the pressure balance at the tail boundary. The field turns out to be of the order of the interplanetary magnetic field or less, i.e. ≲25 γ near ∼0.5 AU.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-291
Number of pages5
JournalPlanetary and Space Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1976


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