EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Probing the solar corona magnetic field with sungrazing comets

Giuseppe Nisticò1, Valery M. Nakariakov2, Timothy Duckenfield3, Miloslav Druckmüller4, and Gaetano Zimbardo1
Giuseppe Nisticò et al.
  • 1Università della Calabria, Department of Physics, 37077, Arcavacata di Rende, Italy (
  • 2Centre for Fusion, Space and Astrophysics, University of Warwick, CV4 7AL, Coventry, UK
  • 3Centre for Mathematical Plasma-Astrophysics, KU Leuven, Celestijnenlaan 200b - box 2400 3001 Leuven, Belgium
  • 4Institute of Mathematics, Brno University of Technology, Technická 2 616 69, Brno, Czeck Republic

Space telescopes of the SoHO, STEREO and SDO missions have occasionally acquired observations of comets, providing an interesting opportunity to investigate the structure and dynamics of the heliospheric plasma.  Cometary plasma tails exhibit a wave-like motion, which is believed to be a response to the physical conditions of the local interplanetary medium. Furthermore, sungrazing comets diving in the solar atmosphere provide us with an unprecedented way to diagnose the coronal plasma at distances which are unaccessible from the current spacecraft. Here, we present observations of Comet Lovejoy C/2011 W3 from SDO/AIA, which was seen to cross the EUV solar corona in December 2011. The cometary ions produced by the sublimation of the comet nucleus were channelled along the magnetic field lines forming some filamented structures. Such structures appear to show small amplitude kink oscillations, which are used to determine the magnitude of the coronal magnetic field by coronal seismology.

How to cite: Nisticò, G., Nakariakov, V. M., Duckenfield, T., Druckmüller, M., and Zimbardo, G.: Probing the solar corona magnetic field with sungrazing comets, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-14653,, 2021.

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