Four-fluid MHD simulations of the plasma and neutral gas environment of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko near perihelion

Huang, Zhenguang; Tóth, Gábor; Gombosi, Tamas I.; Jia, Xianzhe; Rubin, Martin; Fougere, Nicolas; Tenishev, Valeriy; Combi, Michael R.; Bieler, André; Hansen, Kenneth C.; Shou, Yinsi; Altwegg, Kathrin (2016). Four-fluid MHD simulations of the plasma and neutral gas environment of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko near perihelion. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 121(5), pp. 4247-4268. AGU Publications 10.1002/2015ja022333

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The neutral and plasma environment is critical in understanding the interaction of the solar wind and comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (CG), the target of the European Space Agency's Rosetta mission. To serve this need and support the Rosetta mission, we have developed a 3-D four-fluid model, which is based on BATS-R-US (Block-Adaptive Tree Solarwind Roe-type Upwind Scheme) within SWMF (Space Weather Modeling Framework) that solves the governing multifluid MHD equations and the Euler equations for the neutral gas fluid. These equations describe the behavior and interactions of the cometary heavy ions, the solar wind protons, the electrons, and the neutrals. This model incorporates different mass loading processes, including photoionization and electron impact ionization, charge exchange, dissociative ion-electron recombination, and collisional interactions between different fluids. We simulated the plasma and neutral gas environment near perihelion in three different cases: an idealized comet with a spherical body and uniform neutral gas outflow, an idealized comet with a spherical body and illumination-driven neutral gas outflow, and comet CG with a realistic shape model and illumination-driven neutral gas outflow. We compared the results of the three cases and showed that the simulations with illumination-driven neutral gas outflow have magnetic reconnection, a magnetic pileup region and nucleus directed plasma flow inside the nightside reconnection region, which have not been reported in the literature.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


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

UniBE Contributor:

Rubin, Martin; Bieler, André and Altwegg, Kathrin


500 Science > 520 Astronomy
600 Technology > 620 Engineering
500 Science > 530 Physics




AGU Publications




Katharina Weyeneth-Moser

Date Deposited:

18 Jul 2017 09:57

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:03

Publisher DOI:





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