Simulation Studies of the Interaction of a Neutral Gas and a Flowing Plasma

  1. Alan Johnstone
  1. R. Bingham1,
  2. R Bollens2,
  3. F Kazeminejad2 and
  4. J M Dawson2

Published Online: 26 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1029/GM061p0073

Cometary Plasma Processes

Cometary Plasma Processes

How to Cite

Bingham, R., Bollens, R., Kazeminejad, F. and Dawson, J. M. (1991) Simulation Studies of the Interaction of a Neutral Gas and a Flowing Plasma, in Cometary Plasma Processes (ed A. Johnstone), American Geophysical Union, Washington, D. C.. doi: 10.1029/GM061p0073

Author Information

  1. 1

    Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Chilton, Didcot, Oxon, OX11 0Qx

  2. 2

    Department of Physics, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 26 MAR 2013
  2. Published Print: 1 JAN 1991

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780875900278

Online ISBN: 9781118663660



  • Comets;
  • Space plasmas;
  • Astrophysics


The interaction of neutral gas and an ambient flowing plasma have been simulated using 2- and 3-D hybrid codes with kinetic ions and massless fluid electrons. The codes are generalized to include the production of plasma by a gradually ionizing gas in a flowing plasma, allowing important problems in space science, such as the pick up of plasma (comet gas) by the solar wind and artificially created comets produced by the AMPTE barium releases in the solar wind, to be studied. In the simulations of the AMPTE artificial comet, we have been able to demonstrate the generation of a diamagnetic cavity, which slows and deflects the solar wind protons, comet particle acceleration and the sideways deflection of the comet head and density ripples appearing on one side of the comet head which are explained in terms of the Rayleigh Taylor instability. The structure of the cavity as well as the magnetic field surronnding it is highly asymmetric.