Simulating the Magnetosphere: The Structure of the Magnetotail

  1. J. H. Waite Jr.,
  2. J. L. Burch and
  3. R. L. Moore
  1. Raymond J. Walker1,
  2. Tatsuki Ogino2 and
  3. Maha Ashour-Abdalla3

Published Online: 18 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1029/GM054p0061

Solar System Plasma Physics

Solar System Plasma Physics

How to Cite

Walker, R. J., Ogino, T. and Ashour-Abdalla, M. (1989) Simulating the Magnetosphere: The Structure of the Magnetotail, in Solar System Plasma Physics (eds J. H. Waite, J. L. Burch and R. L. Moore), American Geophysical Union, Washington, D. C.. doi: 10.1029/GM054p0061

Author Information

  1. 1

    Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90024

  2. 2

    Research Institute of Atmospherics, Nagoya University, Toyokawa, Aiche 442, Japan

  3. 3

    Physics Department, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90024

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 18 MAR 2013
  2. Published Print: 1 JAN 1989

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780875900742

Online ISBN: 9781118664315



  • Space plasmas;
  • Sun;
  • Magnetosphere;
  • Astrophysics


Global magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulations of the interaction between the solar wind, the magnetosphere, and the ionosphere are potentially useful as aids in interpreting spacecraft observations because they provide us with a tool to calculate the three-dimensional and time-dependent structure of the magnetosphere. To demonstrate the application of a global MHD model to the magnetosphere, we have simulated the structure of the magnetotail as a function of dipole tilt. We used a high resolution three-dimensional code with either 0.6 RE or 1.0 RE grid spacing. For small tilt angles the neutral sheet forms an arc across the tail in the Y-Z plane in GSM coordinates which is similar to that obtained from empirical models. The entire neutral sheet shifts in the north-south direction as the dipole tilt is changed. The shape of the nightside magnetosphere changes with tilt in order to preserve equal areas and hence equal magnetic flux in the northern and southern lobes.