Indirect Solar Wind Measurements Using Archival Cometary Tail Observations

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This paper addresses the problem of the solar wind behaviour during the Maunder minimum. Records on plasma tails of comets can shed light on the physical parameters of the solar wind in the past. We analyse descriptions and drawings of comets between the eleventh and eighteenth century. To distinguish between dust and plasma tails, we address their colour, shape, and orientation. Based on the calculations made by F.A. Bredikhin, we found that cometary tails deviate from the antisolar direction on average by more than 10∘
10 degrees, which is typical for dust tails. We also examined the catalogues of Hevelius and Lubieniecki. The first indication of a plasma tail was revealed only for the great comet C/1769 P1.
Original languageEnglish
Article number85
Number of pages14
JournalSolar Physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 May 2018

Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Comets
  • Solar wind

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