ReportCOMETARY MAGNETISM

The nonmagnetic nucleus of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

Science  14 Apr 2015:

DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa5102

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Abstract

Knowledge of the magnetization of planetary bodies constrains their origin and evolution, as well as the conditions in the solar nebular at that time. Based on magnetic field measurements during the descent and subsequent multiple touchdown of the Rosetta lander Philae on the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, we show that no global magnetic field was detected within the limitations of analysis. The ROMAP suite of sensors measured an upper magnetic field magnitude of less than 2 nT at the cometary surface at multiple locations with the upper specific magnetic moment being < 3.1·10−5 Am2/kg for meter-size homogeneous magnetized boulders. The maximum dipole moment of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is 1.6·108 Am2. We conclude that on the meter-scale, magnetic alignment in the pre-planetary nebula is of minor importance.

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