Global structure of the heliosphere: 3D kinetic-MHD model and the interpretation of spacecraft data
V.V. Izmodenov a, b
a Space Research Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, Profsoyuznaya str. 84/32, Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation
b National Research University Higher School of Economics, ul. Myasnitskaya 20, Moscow, 101000, Russian Federation
This paper is a brief overview of research into the interaction of solar wind with a local interstellar medium. This interaction determines the global structure of the heliosphere (the region occupied by the solar wind) and has a complex multicomponent character. The paper describes the three-dimensional kinetic-magnetohydrodynamic model of the interaction, which includes plasma and neutral components of the interstellar medium and solar wind, the heliospheric and interstellar magnetic fields, and the latitudinal and temporal variation of solar wind parameters. In describing the results, magnetic-field-related effects are given special attention, in particular, the magnetic-field-driven plasma depletion in the vicinity of the heliopause. The model explains a sufficiently large body of data from Voyager-1 and Voyager-2, Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX), Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), Hubble Space Telescope (HST) and other spacecraft. Based on the experimental data and using the model, the parameters of the interstellar medium and those of the interstellar magnetic field are determined. It is shown, however, that a single model using a single set of boundary conditions cannot explain self-consistently all the data available. The Voyager-1 data on the scattered solar Lyman-Alfa radiation is taken as an example to illustrate the difficulties that arise.