Laboratory Study on Disconnection Events in Comets

Yan Fei Li, Yu Tong Li, Wei Min Wang, Da Wei Yuan, Bao Jun Zhu, Jia Yong Zhong, Hui Gang Wei, Fang Li, Bo Han, Kai Zhang, Xiao Xing Pei, Zhe Zhang, Jia Rui Zhao, Chang Liu, Guo Qian Liao, Zhi Heng Fang, Chen Wang, Xiao Gang Wang, Youichi Sakawa, Yong Joo RheeXin Lu, Neng Hua, Bao Qiang Zhu, Taichi Morita, Yasuhiro Kuramitsu, Xiu Guang Huang, Si Zu Fu, Jian Qiang Zhu, Gang Zhao, Jie Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


When comets interacting with solar wind, straight and narrow plasma tails will be often formed. The most remarkable phenomenon of the plasma tails is the disconnection event, in which a plasma tail is uprooted from the comet's head and moves away from the comet. In this paper, the interaction process between a comet and solar wind is simulated by using a laser-driven plasma cloud to hit a cylinder obstacle. A disconnected plasma tail is observed behind the obstacle by optical shadowgraphy and interferometry. Our particle-in-cell simulations show that the difference in thermal velocity between ions and electrons induces an electrostatic field behind the obstacle. This field can lead to the convergence of ions to the central region, resulting in a disconnected plasma tail. This electrostatic-field-induced model may be a possible explanation for the disconnection events of cometary tails.

Original languageEnglish
Article number463
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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