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

Encounter of Parker Solar Probe and a Comet-like Object During Their Perihelia: Simulations and Measurements

Jiansen He1, Bo Cui1, Liping Yang2, Chuanpeng Hou1, Lei Zhang1, Wing-Huen Ip3, Yingdong Jia4, Chuanfei Dong5, Die Duan1, Qiugang Zong1, Stuart Bale6,7,8, Marc Pulupa6, John Bonnell6, Thierry Dudok de Wit10, Keith Goetz11, Peter Harvey6, Robert MacDowall12, and David Malaspina13
Jiansen He et al.
  • 1School of Earth and Space Sciences, Peking University,Beijing, 100871, P. R. China
  • 2State Key Laboratory of Space Weather, National Space Science Center, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100190, P. R. China
  • 3Institute of Astronomy, National Central University, Taoyuan, 32001, Taiwan, R.O. China
  • 4IGPP and EPSS, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA
  • 5Department of Astrophysical Sciences, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
  • 6Space Sciences Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-7450, USA
  • 7Physics Department, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-7300, USA
  • 8The Blackett Laboratory, Imperial College London, London, SW7 2AZ, UK
  • 10LPC2E, CNRS and University of Orl´eans, Orl´eans, France
  • 11School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA
  • 12Solar System Exploration Division, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, 20771
  • 13Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80303, USA
Parker Solar Probe (PSP) aims at exploring the nascent solar wind close to the Sun. Meanwhile, PSP is also expected to encounter small objects like comets and asteroids. In this work, we survey the ephemerides to find a chance of recent encounter, and then model the interaction between released dusty plasmas and solar wind plasmas. On 2019 September 2, a comet-like object 322P/SOHO just passed its perihelion flying to a heliocentric distance of 0.12 au, and swept by PSP at a relative distance as close as 0.025 au. We present the dynamics of dust particles released from 322P, forming a curved dust tail. Along the PSP path in the simulated inner heliosphere, the states of plasma and magnetic field are sampled and illustrated, with the magnetic field sequences from simulation results being compared directly with the in-situ measurements from PSP. Through comparison, we suggest that 322P might be at a deficient activity level releasing limited dusty plasmas during its way to becoming a “rock comet”. We also present images of solar wind streamers as recorded by WISPR, showing an indication of dust bombardment for the images superposed with messy trails. We observe from LASCO coronagraph that 322P was transiting from a dimming region to a relatively bright streamer during its perihelion passage, and simulate to confirm that 322P was flying from relatively faster to slower solar wind streams, modifying local plasma states of the streams.

How to cite: He, J., Cui, B., Yang, L., Hou, C., Zhang, L., Ip, W.-H., Jia, Y., Dong, C., Duan, D., Zong, Q., Bale, S., Pulupa, M., Bonnell, J., Dudok de Wit, T., Goetz, K., Harvey, P., MacDowall, R., and Malaspina, D.: Encounter of Parker Solar Probe and a Comet-like Object During Their Perihelia: Simulations and Measurements, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-14686,, 2021.