An MHD Simulation of the Interaction of the Solar Wind with the Outflowing Plasma from a Comet

  1. Thomas J. Birmingham and
  2. Alexander J. Dessler
  1. Tatsuki Ogino1,
  2. Raymond J. Walker2 and
  3. Maha Ashour-Abdalla3

Published Online: 19 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1029/SP027p0173

Comet Encounters

Comet Encounters

How to Cite

Ogino, T., Walker, R. J. and Ashour-Abdalla, M. (1988) An MHD Simulation of the Interaction of the Solar Wind with the Outflowing Plasma from a Comet, in Comet Encounters (eds T. J. Birmingham and A. J. Dessler), American Geophysical Union, Washington, D.C.. doi: 10.1029/SP027p0173

Author Information

  1. 1

    Research Institute of Atmospherics, Nagoya University

  2. 2

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

  3. 3

    Department of Physics, University of California, Los Angeles

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 19 MAR 2013
  2. Published Print: 1 JAN 1988

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780875902395

Online ISBN: 9781118668757

SEARCH

Keywords:

  • Comet-solar wind interaction;
  • Earth's magnetosphere;
  • Interplanetary magnetic field (IMF);
  • Lax-Wendroff method;
  • Magnetohydrodynamic (MHD);
  • Simulation model;
  • Uniform solar wind;
  • Wendroff method

Summary

The interaction between the solar wind and the outflowing plasmas from a comet has been studied by using a two-dimensional time-dependent magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulation. The model reproduced several features of the comet-solar wind interaction predicted by earlier theories and observed on the recent cometary probes. These include the formation of the contact surface and the cometary magnetotail. For a constant interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) the cometary plasma captures field lines which drape over the comet to form an antiparallel magnetic field configuration in the tail and a thin plasma sheet. Eventually, tail magnetic reconnection begins to occur at several points. When the IMF orientation is reversed dayside magnetic reconnection occurs at the subsolar point and a large disturbance propagates down the tail.