Open Access

Three-dimensional hybrid simulation of magnetized plasma flow around an obstacle

Earth, Planets and Space201451:BF03352242

DOI: 10.1186/BF03352242

Received: 16 February 1999

Accepted: 1 June 1999

Published: 6 June 2014


The interaction between the magnetized plasma flow and an obstacle was investigated in the computer simulations described here by using a three-dimensional hybrid code (kinetic ions and massless fluid electrons). The results, which are relevant to the interaction between the solar wind and an unmagnetized planet (Venus or Mars), show that fundamental structures (bow shock and magnetotail) are formed. When a reflecting boundary is used at the obstacle, the magnetic field configuration was clearly asymmetrical in the direction of the convection electric field. This asymmetry is a result of differences in ion acceleration due to the convection electric field. Asymmetry is also evident when the size of the obstacle is close to the Larmor radius of protons. The shock of a smaller obstacle is weaker than that of a larger obstacle, but the shock size is almost independent of the obstacle size.