Articles | Volume 9, issue 2
Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 9, 163–172, 2002

Special issue: Theory and simulation of Solar System Plasmas, No. 3

Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 9, 163–172, 2002

  30 Apr 2002

30 Apr 2002

Effects of MHD slow shocks propagating along magnetic flux tubes in a dipole magnetic field

N. V. Erkaev1, V. A. Shaidurov2, V. S. Semenov3, and H. K. Biernat4,5 N. V. Erkaev et al.
  • 1Institute of Computational Modelling, Russian Academy of Sciences, Krasnoyarsk-36, 660036, Russia
  • 2State University of Krasnoyarsk, 660041, Krasnoyarsk, Russia
  • 3Institute of Physics, State University of St. Petersburg, St. Petergof, 198504, Russia
  • 4Space Research Institute, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Schmiedlstrasse 6, 8042 Graz, Austria
  • 5also at: Institute of Geophysics, Astrophysics, and Meteorology, University of Graz, 8010 Graz, Austria

Abstract. Variations of the plasma pressure in a magnetic flux tube can produce MHD waves evolving into shocks. In the case of a low plasma beta, plasma pressure pulses in the magnetic flux tube generate MHD slow shocks propagating along the tube. For converging magnetic field lines, such as in a dipole magnetic field, the cross section of the magnetic flux tube decreases enormously with increasing magnetic field strength. In such a case, the propagation of MHD waves along magnetic flux tubes is rather different from that in the case of uniform magnetic fields. In this paper, the propagation of MHD slow shocks is studied numerically using the ideal MHD equations in an approximation suitable for a thin magnetic flux tube with a low plasma beta. The results obtained in the numerical study show that the jumps in the plasma parameters at the MHD slow shock increase greatly while the shock is propagating in the narrowing magnetic flux tube. The results are applied to the case of the interaction between Jupiter and its satellite Io, the latter being considered as a source of plasma pressure pulses.