, Volume 146, Issue 1-4, pp 295-327
Date: 07 May 2009

Physics of the Solar Wind–Local Interstellar Medium Interaction: Role of Magnetic Fields

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The interaction of the solar wind with the local interstellar medium is characterized by the self-consistent coupling of solar wind plasma, both upstream and downstream of the heliospheric termination shock, the interstellar plasma, and the neutral atom component of interstellar and solar wind origin. The complex coupling results in the creation of new plasma components (pickup ions), turbulence, and anomalous cosmic rays, and new populations of neutral atoms and their coupling can lead to energetic neutral atoms that can be detected at 1 AU. In this review, we discuss the interaction and coupling of global sized structures (the heliospheric boundary regions) and kinetic physics (the distributions that are responsible for the creation of energetic neutral atoms) based on models that have been developed by the University of Alabama in Huntsville group.