Dust impact signals on the wind spacecraft

P. J. Kellogg, K. Goetz, S. J. Monson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Scopus citations


We analyze waveforms recorded by the Time Domain Sampler of the WAVES experiment on Wind which are similar to impulsive waveforms observed by the S/WAVES experiment on STEREO. These have been interpreted as dust impacts by Meyer-Vernet et al. and M. L. Kaiser and K. Goetz and extensively analyzed by Zaslavsky et al. The mechanism for coupling the emission to the antennas to produce an electrical signal is still not well understood, however. One suggested mechanism for coupling of the impact to the antenna is that the spacecraft body changes potential with respect to the surrounding plasma but the antennas do not (the body mechanism). Another class of mechanisms, with several forms, is that the charge of the emitted cloud interacts with the antennas. The Wind data show that both are operating. The time domain shapes of the dust pulses are highly variable but we have little understanding of what provides these shapes. One feature of the STEREO data has been interpreted as impacts from high velocity nanoparticles entrained by the solar wind. We have not found evidence for fast nanodust in the Wind data. An appreciable fraction of the impacts observed on Wind is consistent with interstellar dust. The impact rates do not follow a Poisson distribution, expected for random independent events, and this is interpreted as bunching. We have not succeeded in relating this bunching to known meteor showers, and they do not repeat from 1 year to the next. The data suggest bunching by fields in the heliosphere.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)966-991
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research A: Space Physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016


  • dust
  • interplanetary dust
  • interstellar dust

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