Observatoire de Paris Institut national de recherche scientifique français Univerité Pierre et Marie Curie Université Paris Diderot - Paris 7

Soutenance de thèse de Kristina RACKOVIC BABIC le mercredi 7 décembre 2022

lundi 5 décembre 2022

La soutenance de thèse de Kristina RACKOVIC BABIC aura lieu le mercredi 7 décembre 2022 à 9h30, dans l’amphithéâtre 34A du campus Pierre et Marie Curie (Jussieu) de Sorbonne Université.

Elle sera diffusée en direct sur la chaîne YouTube du LESIA :

La thèse sera soutenue en anglais.


"In-situ dust detection using radio antennas of different spacecraft – space observations and modeling"


Interplanetary dust grains contain important information about the Solar System. Dust impacts have been observed using radio and wave instruments onboard the spacecraft since the 1980s. The interaction between the impact-generated plasma cloud and antenna – spacecraft system elements generates the characteristic signal waveform. The present work focuses on the detection and interpretation of the dust generated signals from radio instruments onboard various spacecraft orbiting at 1 AU.

In the first part of the thesis, we aim to develop a model which links the observed electric signals to the dust impact properties. We propose a new model which takes into account the effect of impact – ionization - charge collection and electrostatic-influence. Our model provides an analytical expression for the pulse. It allows us to measure the amount of total ion charge, the fraction of escaping charge, the rise timescale, and the relaxation timescale. The proposed model is simple and convenient for large data fitting. To validate the model, we use the Time Do- main Sampler (TDS) subsystem of the STEREO/WAVES instrument, which generates high-cadence time series of voltage pulses for each monopole. Since the beginning of the STEREO mission in 2007, we have collected all the dust events detected by S/WAVES/TDS simultaneously on all three monopoles at 1 AU. Our study confirms that the rise time vastly exceeds the spacecraft’s short timescale of electron collection by the spacecraft. Aside from electron dynamics, we also obtained interesting results regarding the cloud’s electron temperature. The presented model provides an effective tool for analyzing dust waveforms, and is applicable for different space missions which investigate the distribution of dust particles, e.g., Solar Orbiter and Parker Solar Probe.

In the second part of the thesis, we focus on the interstellar dust (ISD). Interplanetary and interstellar dust are the two main dust populations at 1 AU. Our objective is to search for interstellar dust by analyzing the data sets collected by STEREO and Wind, starting from the beginning of the missions. Between 2007 and 2012, while being at the solar minimum with a solar dipole pointing southward, all three spacecraft recorded ISD flux at 1 AU. However, before and after that period, the disappearance of the interstellar component was noticeable. The observed change of the impact rate suggests that the flux of inter- stellar dust at 1 AU varies with the solar cycle. Each time the magnetic dipole field changes its polarity during the solar cycle, small interstellar grains experience focusing or defocusing. Consequently, the dust grains are systematically deflected either towards, or away from the solar magnetic equator plane by the solar wind magnetic field which thus affects the dust dynamics and the total interstellar dust flux in the inner heliosphere. Our study provides the first quantitative description of the time variation of ISD flux at 1 AU.

Jury members

  • Laurence Rezeau (Sorbonne Université, LPP, PSL, Ecole Polytechnique)
  • Hervé Lamy (Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy IASB/BIRA) Reviewer
  • Christian Mazelle (IRAP) Reviewer
  • Marko Stalevski (Astronomical Observatory - Belgrade) Examinator
  • Vladimir Zeković (University of Belgrade, Faculty of Mathematics & Department of Astrophysical Sciences, Princeton University) Examinator
  • Dušan Onić (Faculty of Mathematics, University of Belgrade) Supervisor
  • Karine Issautier (LESIA) Supervisor
  • Arnaud Zaslavsky (LESIA & Sorbonne Université) Invited