MHD effects of the solar wind flow around planets
- 1Space Research Institute, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Graz, Austria
- 2also at: Institute for Geophysics, Astrophysics and Meteorology, University of Graz, Austria
- 3Institute for Computational Modelling, Russian Academy of Sciences, Krasnoyarsk, Russia
- 4Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans and Space, University of New Hampshire, Durham, USA
Abstract. The study of the interaction of the solar wind with magnetized and unmagnetized planets forms a central topic of space research. Focussing on planetary magnetosheaths, we review some major developments in this field. Magnetosheath structures depend crucially on the orientation of the interplanetary magnetic field, the solar wind Alfvén Mach number, the shape of the obstacle (axisymmetric/non-axisymmetric, etc.), the boundary conditions at the magnetopause (low/high magnetic shear), and the degree of thermal anisotropy of the plasma. We illustrate the cases of Earth, Jupiter and Venus. The terrestrial magnetosphere is axisymmetric and has been probed in-situ by many spacecraft. Jupiter's magnetosphere is highly non-axisymmetric. Furthermore, we study magnetohydrodynamic effects in the Venus magnetosheath.