A fully three-dimensional hybrid plasma simulation code developed since the year 2000 at the Technical University of Braunschweig[1;2] is applied to the study of the plasma environment of Comet 67P/Churyomuv-Gerasimenko - the target comet of ESA's Rosetta Mission.
The hybrid model is characterized by a semi-kinetic treatment of the particle dynamics. In the presented calculations we consider two different species: solar wind protons and the much heavier cometary ions. The particle dynamics of each species is described by Newtonian equations of motions with the Lorentz force and a collision force modeling interactions with the neutral gas. The electrons are assumed to be a massless, charge neutralizing fluid which is described by conservation laws. An equation for the electric field is derived from the electron model while the time evolution of the magnetic field is obtained from Faraday's law. This model resolves physical structures down to a time scale below the inverse lower hybrid frequency.
The code solves the spatial part of the Maxwell equations on an arbitrary curvilinear, hexahedral, ordered grid by applying finite difference schemes. The time integration is done by a cyclic leapfrog scheme with a modified current advancement method . In addition, in order to achieve a higher resolution of dispersive effects the magnetic field time evolution is obtained from a subcycling leapfrog method.
We conduct a series of hybrid plasma simulations for four different heliocentric distances covering the range between 3.25 AU and 1.30 AU, which corresponds to important stages of the Rosetta mission. The used physical parameters are described in .