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Astron. Astrophys. 321, 330-337 (1997)

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Solar wind interaction with the magnetized interstellar medium

Shock-capturing modeling

N.V. Pogorelov * 1 and A.Yu. Semenov 2

1 Dept. Earth & Planetary Sciences, Kobe University, Nada-ku, Kobe 657, Japan
2 General Physics Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, 38 Vavilov St., Moscow 117942, Russia

Received 7 June 1996 / Accepted 20 September 1996


The interaction between the stellar wind, including the solar wind, and the interstellar medium is the subject of thorough investigation in the latest years. This is due to the possibility of comparison of the physical models for such interaction with the measurements performed by Voyager, Pioneer, and Ulysses spacecrafts. The presence of the magnetic field necessitates the solution of the magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) equations for proper analysis of the obtained data. We present here a simple numerical approach for the modeling of the stellar wind interaction with the magnetized interstellar plasma. It is based on the second-order of accuracy high-resolution numerical scheme which gives a drastic simplification of the numerical algorithm comparing with the methods based on the exact characteristic splitting of the Jacobian matrices. New nonreflecting boundary conditions for subsonic outer boundaries at the far-field are presented, which are suitable for MHD calculations. A simple numerical approach is used to satisfy the magnetic field divergence-free condition in the computational region. The method is applied to the analysis of the solar wind - interstellar medium interaction for various values of the magnetic field strength and the influence of the latter is studied on the size of the heliopause and on the termination and the bow shock stand-off distance.

Key words: physical data and processes: MHD, shock waves – stars: mass-loss – Sun: solar wind – ISM: kinematics and dynamics

* Permanent address: Institute for Problems in Mechanics, Russian Academy of Sciences, 101 Vernadskii Ave., Moscow 117526, Russia. e-mail: pgrlv@ipm.msk.su

Send offprint requests to: N.V. Pogorelov

© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1997

Online publication: June 30, 1998