A comparison of multiple Rosetta data sets and 3D model calculations of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko coma around equinox (May 2015)

R. Marschall, L. Rezac, D. Kappel, C. C. Su, S.-B. Gerig, M. Rubin, O. Pinzón-Rodríguez, D. Marshall, Y. Liao, C. Herny, G. Arnold, C. Christou, S. K. Dadzie, O. Groussin, P. Hartogh, L. Jorda, E. Kührt, S. Mottola, O. Mousis, F. PreuskerF. Scholten, P. Theologou, J.-S. Wu, K. Altwegg, R. Rodrigo, N. Thomas

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We have used the latest available shape model for gas and dust simulations of the inner coma of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko for the period around May 2015 (equinox). We compare results from a purely insolation-driven model with a complementary set of observations made by ROSINA, VIRTIS, MIRO, and OSIRIS within the same period. The observations include - for the first time - inverted MIRO measurements of gas density, temperature and bulk velocity to constrain the model. The comparisons show that, as in November 2014 (Marschall et al., 2016), insolation-driven activity does not provide an adequate fit to the data. Both VIRTIS and MIRO observations indicate that emissions from the Hatmehit and Imhotep regions of the nucleus are strongly depleted in total gas, H2O, and dust emissions in this case. The MIRO inversion provides a challenging constraint to the models as a consequence of the terminator orbit and nucleus pointing of the spacecraft. Nonetheless a consistent picture with a dominance of outgassing from the Hapi region, even at equinox, is clearly evident. An inhomogeneous model consistent with models proposed for the November 2014 time-frame was constructed and provides a better fit to the data. As far as we are aware this is the first time comae data from four Rosetta instruments have been used to constrain within one self-contained model the emission distribution at the nucleus surface and study the dynamics of the gas and dust outflow.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-126
Number of pages23
Early online date7 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019


  • 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko
  • Coma
  • Comets
  • Dust
  • Dynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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