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Paper: Simulating the Heliosphere with Kinetic Hydrogen and Dynamic MHD Source Terms
Volume: 474, Numerical Modeling of Space Plasma Flows (ASTRONUM2012)
Page: 195
Authors: Heerikhuisen, J.; Pogorelov, N.; Zank, G.
Abstract: The interaction between the ionized plasma of the solar wind (SW) emanating from the sun and the partially ionized plasma of the local interstellar medium (LISM) creates the heliosphere. The heliospheric interface is characterized by the tangential discontinuity known as the heliopause that separates the SW and LISM plasmas, and a termination shock on the SW side along with a possible bow shock on the LISM side. Neutral Hydrogen of interstellar origin plays a critical role in shaping the heliospheric interface, since it freely traverses the heliopause. Charge-exchange between H-atoms and plasma protons couples the ions and neutrals, but the mean free paths are large, resulting in non-equilibrated energetic ion and neutral components. In our model, source terms for the MHD equations are generated using a kinetic approach for hydrogen, and the key computational challenge is to resolve these sources with sufficient statistics. For steady-state simulations, statistics can accumulate over arbitrarily long time intervals. In this paper we discuss an approach for improving the statistics in time-dependent calculations, and present results from simulations of the heliosphere where the SW conditions at the inner boundary of the computation vary according to an idealized solar cycle.
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