Modeling of the Quasi-Steady Magnetotail

  1. Gordon R. Wilson
  1. Joachim Birn1 and
  2. Karl Schindler2

Published Online: 18 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1029/GM062p0031

Modeling Magnetospheric Plasma Processes

Modeling Magnetospheric Plasma Processes

How to Cite

Birn, J. and Schindler, K. (1991) Modeling of the Quasi-Steady Magnetotail, in Modeling Magnetospheric Plasma Processes (ed G. R. Wilson), American Geophysical Union, Washington, D. C.. doi: 10.1029/GM062p0031

Author Information

  1. 1

    Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico 87545

  2. 2

    Ruhr-UniversitÄt, 4630 Bochum 1, Federal Republic of Germany

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 18 MAR 2013
  2. Published Print: 1 JAN 1991

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780875900285

Online ISBN: 9781118663905



  • Space plasmas—Mathematical models—Congresses;
  • Magnetosphere—Mathematical models—Congresses


Our three-dimensional theory of the quiet magnetotail is reviewed and updated. The most advanced formulation of the theory now allows one to solve the magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) equations including field-aligned flow by reduction to a set of ordinary differential equations and an ordinary integral. These solutions represent lowest order solutions of an asymptotic expansion of the MHD equations for small electric field and weak time dependence. Applications to the magnetotail configuration are presented, which include the following properties in a self-consistent way: Flaring of the tail in y and z, associated with the presence of By and Bz ; variation of plasma sheet and current sheet thickness with x and y, associated with variations of Bz ; field-aligned currents at the boundary between plasma sheet and lobes with the signature of “region 1” currents, i.e., toward the Earth on the dawn side and away on the dusk side, associated with the decrease of the tail flaring with distance from the Earth; net cross-tail magnetic field. Particular steady models with field-aligned flow demonstrate the important role of the flow in allowing or producing configurations with a transition from a thick closed plasma sheet to a much thinner distant open current sheet and for the possibility of thick plasmoids propagating in near equilibrium through the thindistant current sheet.