Thursday, July 4, 2013

1307.0850 (M. Swisdak et al.)

A Porous, Layered Heliopause    [PDF]

M. Swisdak, J. F. Drake, M. Opher
The picture of the heliopause (HP) -- the boundary between the domains of the sun and the local interstellar medium (LISM) -- as a pristine interface with a large rotation in the magnetic field fails to describe recent Voyager 1 (V1) spacecraft data. Magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulations of the global heliosphere reveal that the rotation angle of the magnetic field across the HP at V1 is small. Particle-in-cell simulations, based on cuts through the MHD model at the location of V1, suggest that the sectored region of the heliosheath (HS) produces large-scale magnetic islands that reconnect with the interstellar magnetic field and mix LISM and HS plasma. Cuts across the simulation data reveal multiple, anti-correlated jumps in the number densities of LISM and HS particles at the magnetic separatrices of the islands, similar to those observed by V1. A model is presented, based on both the observations and simulation data, of the HP as a porous, multi-layered structure threaded by magnetic fields. This model further suggests that, contrary to the conclusions of recent papers, V1 has already crossed the HP.
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