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Global MHD simulation of Earth's magnetosphere

Global MHD simulation of Earth's magnetosphere

Date: 20 November 2007
Copyright: A. J. Ridley and the Community Coordinated Modeling Center, CCMC, at

This movie comes from the results of a global magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulation from the BATS-R-US model. This model solves the ideal MHD equation on a spatial grid which cell size increases away from Earth. The model was run with solar wind input conditions similar to those prevailing during the CME event of November 2001.

The movie shows the plasma flow speed (magnitude of the velocity vector) in the equatorial plane in a colour-coded fashion (see colour palette), together with the magnetic field line attached to a given flow element that passes through the large flow region of the magnetosheath, close to the magnetopause.

By following the magnetic field line attached to the flow element, we can observe the field deformation that is relevant to the "magnetic slingshot" effect. As a solar wind magnetic field line encounters the Earth, it bends and drapes, and eventually straightens back on the flanks as the magnetic curvature and pressure forces are released, thus accelerating the plasma. Also shown are a few magnetospheric field lines (black) for context.

Last Update: 1 September 2019
21-Jun-2024 08:05 UT

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