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Interplanetary gas. XXIV - Are cometary plasma tail disconnections caused by sector boundary crossings or by encounters with high-speed streams
Niedner, M. B., Jr.; Brandt, J. C.
AA(NASA, Goddard Space Flight Center, Laboratory for Astronomy and Solar Physics, Greenbelt; Systems and Applied Sciences Corp., Riverdale, Md.), AB(NASA, Goddard Space Flight Center, Laboratory for Astronomy and Solar Physics, Greenbelt, Md.)
Astrophysical Journal, Part 1, vol. 234, Dec. 1, 1979, p. 723-732. (ApJ Homepage)
Publication Date:
NASA/STI Keywords:
Astronomical Models, Comet Tails, Cosmic Plasma, Interplanetary Gas, Magnetohydrodynamic Flow, Comet Heads, Flow Velocity, High Speed, Morphology, Pioneer 11 Space Probe, Solar Cycles, Solar Wind
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The paper discusses and compares the original sector boundary model (Niedner and Brandt) and the alternative high-speed stream model (Ip and Mendis) suggested for explaining cometary plasma tail disconnection events (DE) within a largely observational framework not dependent on detailed plasma physics. Among the findings are: (1) the strong solar cycle phase dependence of the amplitude of the Rosenberg-Coleman effect (Svalgaard and Wilcox) yields inferred maximum latitudes of all of the DEs in the original survey to a one-time Rosenberg-Coleman effect measurement made by Pioneer 11, which indicated a disappearance of sectors above 16 deg latitude, and (2) approximately 70% of the post 1926 DEs in the expanded survey show a close association with corotated shorter-term polarity reversals. This result is difficult to reconcile with the predictions of the stream model, in which DEs should correlate more strongly with streams than with sector boundaries. It is concluded that the sector boundary model better describes the disconnection phenomenon and that the use of DEs as unique sector boundary markers is presently justified.

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