The Near-Sun Dust Environment: Initial Observations from <i>Parker Solar Probe</i>

Author
Keywords
Abstract
<p>The Parker Solar Probe (PSP) spacecraft has flown into the densest, previously unexplored, innermost region of our solar system\textquoterights zodiacal cloud. While PSP does not have a dedicated dust detector, multiple instruments on the spacecraft are sensitive to the effects of meteoroid bombardment. Here, we discuss measurements taken during PSP\textquoterights second orbit and compare them to models of the zodiacal cloud\textquoterights dust distribution. Comparing the radial impact rate trends and the timing and location of a dust impact to an energetic particle detector, we find the impactor population to be consistent with dust grains on hyperbolic orbits escaping the solar system. Assuming PSP\textquoterights impact environment is dominated by hyperbolic impactors, the total quantity of dust ejected from our solar system is estimated to be 0.5-10 tons/s. We expect PSP will encounter an increasingly intense impactor environment as its perihelion distance and semimajor axis are decreased.</p>
Year of Publication
2020
Journal
The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series
Volume
246
Number
Number of Pages
27
Date Published
02/2020
URL
https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.3847/1538-4365/ab50c1
DOI
10.3847/1538-4365/ab50c1