Calculation of the Initial Magnetic Field for Mercury’s Magnetosphere Hybrid Model

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • Igor Alexeev
  • David Parunakian
  • Sergey Dyadechkin
  • Elena Belenkaya
  • Maxim Khodachenko
  • Esa Kallio

  • Markku Alho

Research units

  • Lomonosov Moscow State University
  • Austrian Academy of Sciences


Several types of numerical models are used to analyze the interactions of the solar wind flow with Mercury’s magnetosphere, including kinetic models that determine magnetic and electric fields based on the spatial distribution of charges and currents, magnetohydrodynamic models that describe plasma as a conductive liquid, and hybrid models that describe ions kinetically in collisionless mode and represent electrons as a massless neutralizing liquid. The structure of resulting solutions is determined not only by the chosen set of equations that govern the behavior of plasma, but also by the initial and boundary conditions; i.e., their effects are not limited to the amount of computational work required to achieve a quasi-stationary solution. In this work, we have proposed using the magnetic field computed by the paraboloid model of Mercury’s magnetosphere as the initial condition for subsequent hybrid modeling. The results of the model have been compared to measurements performed by the Messenger spacecraft during a single crossing of the magnetosheath and the magnetosphere. The selected orbit lies in the terminator plane, which allows us to observe two crossings of the bow shock and the magnetopause. In our calculations, we have defined the initial parameters of the global magnetospheric current systems in a way that allows us to minimize paraboloid magnetic field deviation along the trajectory of the Messenger from the experimental data. We have shown that the optimal initial field parameters include setting the penetration of a partial interplanetary magnetic field into the magnetosphere with a penetration coefficient of 0.2.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108-114
Number of pages7
JournalCosmic Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

ID: 19015160