The 2016 Feb 19 outburst of comet 67P/CG: an ESA Rosetta multi-instrument study

Grün, E.; Agarwal, J.; Altobelli, N.; Altwegg, Kathrin; Bentley, M. S.; Biver, N.; Della Corte, V.; Edberg, N.; Feldman, P. D.; Galand, M.; Geiger, B.; Götz, C.; Grieger, B.; Güttler, C.; Henri, P.; Hofstadter, M.; Horanyi, M.; Jehin, E.; Krüger, H.; Lee, S.; ... (2016). The 2016 Feb 19 outburst of comet 67P/CG: an ESA Rosetta multi-instrument study. Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 462(Suppl 1), S220-S234. Oxford University Press 10.1093/mnras/stw2088

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On 2016 Feb 19, nine Rosetta instruments serendipitously observed an outburst of gas and dust from the nucleus of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Among these instruments were cameras and spectrometers ranging from UV over visible to microwave wavelengths, in situ gas, dust and plasma instruments, and one dust collector. At 09:40 a dust cloud developed at the edge of an image in the shadowed region of the nucleus. Over the next two hours the instruments recorded a signature of the outburst that significantly exceeded the background. The enhancement ranged from 50 per cent of the neutral gas density at Rosetta to factors >100 of the brightness of the coma near the nucleus. Dust related phenomena (dust counts or brightness due to illuminated dust) showed the strongest enhancements (factors >10). However, even the electron density at Rosetta increased by a factor 3 and consequently the spacecraft potential changed from ∼−16 V to −20 V during the outburst. A clear sequence of events was observed at the distance of Rosetta (34 km from the nucleus): within 15 min the Star Tracker camera detected fast particles (∼25 m s−1) while 100 μm radius particles were detected by the GIADA dust instrument ∼1 h later at a speed of 6 m s−1. The slowest were individual mm to cm sized grains observed by the OSIRIS cameras. Although the outburst originated just outside the FOV of the instruments, the source region and the magnitude of the outburst could be determined.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > Space Research and Planetary Sciences
08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute

UniBE Contributor:

Altwegg, Kathrin


500 Science > 520 Astronomy
500 Science > 530 Physics
600 Technology > 620 Engineering




Oxford University Press




Katharina Weyeneth-Moser

Date Deposited:

06 Jul 2017 11:13

Last Modified:

06 Jul 2017 11:13

Publisher DOI:





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