Comet 1P/Halley multifluid MHD model for the Giotto fly-by

Rubin, Martin; Combi, M. R.; Daldorff, L. K. S.; Gombosi, T. I.; Hansen, K. C.; Shou, Y.; Tenishev, V. M.; Tóth, G.; van der Holst, B.; Altwegg, Kathrin (2014). Comet 1P/Halley multifluid MHD model for the Giotto fly-by. Astrophysical journal, 781(2), p. 86. Institute of Physics Publishing IOP 10.1088/0004-637X/781/2/86

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The interaction of comets with the solar wind has been the focus of many studies including numerical modeling. We compare the results of our multifluid MHD simulation of comet 1P/Halley to data obtained during the flyby of the European Space Agency's Giotto spacecraft in 1986. The model solves the full set of MHD equations for the individual fluids representing the solar wind protons, the cometary light and heavy ions, and the electrons. The mass loading, charge-exchange, dissociative ion-electron recombination, and collisional interactions between the fluids are taken into account. The computational domain spans over several million kilometers, and the close vicinity of the comet is resolved to the details of the magnetic cavity. The model is validated by comparison to the corresponding Giotto observations obtained by the Ion Mass Spectrometer, the Neutral Mass Spectrometer, the Giotto magnetometer experiment, and the Johnstone Plasma Analyzer instrument. The model shows the formation of the bow shock, the ion pile-up, and the diamagnetic cavity and is able to reproduce the observed temperature differences between the pick-up ion populations and the solar wind protons. We give an overview of the global interaction of the comet with the solar wind and then show the effects of the Lorentz force interaction between the different plasma populations.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > Space Research and Planetary Sciences

UniBE Contributor:

Rubin, Martin and Altwegg, Kathrin


500 Science > 520 Astronomy
600 Technology > 620 Engineering




Institute of Physics Publishing IOP




Martin Rubin

Date Deposited:

19 May 2016 10:09

Last Modified:

26 Jun 2016 02:08

Publisher DOI:





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