Articles | Volume 31, issue 12
Ann. Geophys., 31, 2207–2212, 2013
Ann. Geophys., 31, 2207–2212, 2013

ANGEO Communicates 17 Dec 2013

ANGEO Communicates | 17 Dec 2013

Ion distributions upstream and downstream of the Earth's bow shock: first results from Vlasiator

D. Pokhotelov1,2, S. von Alfthan1, Y. Kempf1,2, R. Vainio2, H. E. J. Koskinen1,2, and M. Palmroth1 D. Pokhotelov et al.
  • 1Earth Observations Unit, Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki, Finland
  • 2Department of Physics, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland

Abstract. A novel hybrid-Vlasov code, Vlasiator, is developed for global simulations of magnetospheric plasma kinetics. The code is applied to model the collisionless bow shock on scales of the Earth's magnetosphere in two spatial dimensions and three dimensions in velocity space retrieving ion distribution functions over the entire foreshock and magnetosheath regions with unprecedented detail. The hybrid-Vlasov approach produces noise-free uniformly discretized ion distribution functions comparable to those measured in situ by spacecraft. Vlasiator can reproduce features of the ion foreshock and magnetosheath well known from spacecraft observations, such as compressional magnetosonic waves generated by backstreaming ion populations in the foreshock and mirror modes in the magnetosheath. An overview of ion distributions from various regions of the bow shock is presented, demonstrating the great opportunities for comparison with multi-spacecraft observations.