Status Report

Probing the Edge of the Solar System: Formation of an Unstable Jet-Sheet

By SpaceRef Editor
October 31, 2003
Filed under , ,

Astrophysics, abstract

From: merav opher <>

Date: Thu, 22 May 2003 01:50:54 GMT (224kb)

Probing the Edge of the Solar System: Formation of an Unstable Jet-Sheet

M. Opher,
P. C. Liewer,
T. I. Gombosi,
W. Manchester,
D. L. DeZeeuw,
I. Sokolov,
G. Toth

Comments: 9 pages, 4 figures, accepted for publication in ApJL

Journal-ref: Astrophys.J. 591 (2003) L61-L66

The Voyager spacecraft is now approaching the edge of the solar system. Near
the boundary between the solar system and the interstellar medium we find that
an unstable “jet-sheet” forms. The jet-sheet oscillates up and down due to a
velocity shear instability. This result is due to a novel application of a
state-of-art 3D Magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) code with a highly refined grid. We
assume as a first approximation that the solar magnetic and rotation axes are
aligned. The effect of a tilt of the magnetic axis with respect to the rotation
axis remains to be seen. We include in the model self-consistently magnetic
field effects in the interaction between the solar and interstellar winds.
Previous studies of this interaction had poorer spatial resolution and did not
include the solar magnetic field. This instability can affect the entry of
energetic particles into the solar system and the intermixing of solar and
interstellar material. The same effect found here is predicted for the
interaction of rotating magnetized stars possessing supersonic winds and moving
with respect to the interstellar medium, such as O stars.

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