Fluid and particle simulations of the interaction of the solar wind with magnetic anomalies on the surface of the Moon and Mars

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Fluid and particle simulations of the interaction of the solar wind with magnetic anomalies on the surface of the Moon and Mars

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Title: Fluid and particle simulations of the interaction of the solar wind with magnetic anomalies on the surface of the Moon and Mars
Author: Harnett, Erika Megan
Abstract: Simulations of the solar wind interacting with the Moon and Mars indicate that the presence of magnetic anomalies on the surface can lead to the formation of mini-magnetospheres around the anomalies. These mini-magnetospheres are not just small scale versions of planetary magnetospheres, but rather their small size leads to merged boundaries. Mini-magnetospheres also posses an increased sensitivity to solar wind parameters, the IMF direction in particular. The small scale size also leads to non-ideal MHD behavior, such as localized charge separation, which modifies particle acceleration, and ion cyclotron effects that lead to evolution of the magnetic field.This thesis presents results that show that mini-magnetospheres at the Moon, while small in comparison to the size of the Moon, can change the size and shape of the wake region even when the anomalies are on the day side. Some magnetic field configurations can completely prevent solar wind access to the surface of the Moon, suggesting that the regions of surface magnetization may provide a source of material that has been exposed only to cosmic radiation.The magnetic anomalies at Mars create a mini-magnetopause in place of the magnetic pileup boundary, and depending on IMF configuration lead to either an increase of decrease in the scale height of the ionosphere opposite the magnetized region. Non-ideal MHD plasma behavior is associated with both the magnetic pileup boundary and the mini-magnetopause. The location of the magnetic anomalies greatly effects the plasma in the tail, leading to plasma voids and density enhancements that are several Martian radii in size.
Description: Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Washington, 2003
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1773/6798

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