Science China Earth Sciences

, Volume 56, Issue 2, pp 330–338

Three-dimensional MHD simulation of the lunar wake

  • LiangHai Xie
  • Lei Li
  • YiTeng Zhang
  • Darren Lee De Zeeuw
Research Paper


We study the interaction between the Moon and the solar wind through a three-dimensional MHD simulation. Three cases have been discussed in which the interplanetary magnetic field lies at 90°, 180°, and 135° to the solar wind flow, respectively. A wake with low density and low pressure can always be formed behind the Moon. The plasma temperature and magnetic field are enhanced in the central wake, but the field strength is reduced in the surrounding region. A Mach cone is formed by rarefaction waves emanating from the limb. These rarefaction waves propagate via the fast magnetosonic mode with different velocities in different directions relative to the magnetic field. When the interplanetary magnetic field is not parallel to the solar wind flow, the wake shows some asymmetries, with an acceleration region turning up at the center. Finally, the results are compared with the observations by WIND spacecraft. Our calculations agree reasonably well with the observed values.


lunar wake MHD simulation solar wind 


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Copyright information

© Science China Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • LiangHai Xie
    • 1
    • 2
  • Lei Li
    • 1
  • YiTeng Zhang
    • 1
  • Darren Lee De Zeeuw
    • 3
  1. 1.Center for Space Science and Applied ResearchChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Graduate University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijing100049China
  3. 3.Center for Space Environment ModelingUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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