Rosetta photoelectron emission and solar ultraviolet flux at comet 67P [EPA]

The Langmuir Probe instrument on Rosetta monitored the photoelectron emission cur- rent of the probes during the Rosetta mission at comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, in essence acting as a photodiode monitoring the solar ultraviolet radiation at wave- lengths below 250 nm. We have used three methods of extracting the photoelectron saturation current from the Langmuir probe measurements. The resulting dataset can be used as an index of the solar far and extreme ultraviolet at the Rosetta spacecraft position, including flares, in wavelengths that are important for photoionisation of the cometary neutral gas. Comparing the photoemission current to data measurements by MAVEN/EUVM and TIMED/SEE, we find good correlation when 67P was at large heliocentric distances early and late in the mission, but up to 50 percent decrease of the expected photoelectron current at perihelion. We discuss possible reasons for the photoemission decrease, including scattering and absorption by nanograins created by disintegration of cometary dust far away from the nucleus.

Read this paper on arXiv…

F. Johansson, E. Odelstad, J. Paulsson, et. al.
Wed, 13 Sep 17

Comments: 11 pages, 8 figures, accepted for publication in MNRAS