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New Horizons Flyby Modeling Challenge
1.5D MHD results from mSWiM - Kenneth Hansen (University of Michigan)
The plots below shows preliminary results from a simulation using the mSWiM code.
mSWiM is a 1.5-D ideal MHD model implemented with the Versatile Advection Code (VAC), a general software package designed to solve a conservative system of hyperbolic partial differential equations with additional non-hyperbolic source terms [Tóth, 1996]. The model propagates the solar wind plasma radially outward from the Earth´s orbit at a selected helioecliptic longitude in the inertial frame of reference assuming spherical symmetry.
For a detailed description of the MHD equations, the numerical schemes used and a detailed validation of mSWiM, please refer to the paper by Zieger and Hansen [2008] or visit the model web site .
mSWiM has been used extensively by the outer planets community to study solar wind driven effects at Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus. Other applications of the model have included the inward propagation of the solar wind from the Earth to Mercury. See a complete bibliography below.
The simulation uses solar wind conditions measured at Earth as the inner boundary. We most commonly use hourly solar wind plasma and interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) data in the RTN coordinate system from the OMNIWeb database ( as input, but also use STEREO data as well as ACE data to make predictions in the outer solar system.
The first plot shows the model prediction for radial velocity and number density for the calendar year 2015, at both Pluto and the location of the New Horizons spacecraft.

The second plot shows the same quantities as the first plot, but with the time window expanded to show just May to July, ie the time interval around the approach and the flyby at Pluto.

<< Back to New Horizons Mission Support and Flyby Modeling Challenge page
National Aeronautics and Space Administration Air Force Materiel Command Air Force Office of Scientific Research Air Force Research Laboratory Air Force Weather Agency NOAA Space Environment Center National Science Foundation Office of Naval Research

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