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Title: Kinetic electron and ion instability of the lunar wake simulated at physical mass ratio

The solar wind wake behind the moon is studied with 1D electrostatic particle-in-cell (PIC) simulations using a physical ion to electron mass ratio (unlike prior investigations); the simulations also apply more generally to supersonic flow of dense magnetized plasma past non-magnetic objects. A hybrid electrostatic Boltzmann electron treatment is first used to investigate the ion stability in the absence of kinetic electron effects, showing that the ions are two-stream unstable for downstream wake distances (in lunar radii) greater than about three times the solar wind Mach number. Simulations with PIC electrons are then used to show that kinetic electron effects can lead to disruption of the ion beams at least three times closer to the moon than in the hybrid simulations. This disruption occurs as the result of a novel wake phenomenon: the non-linear growth of electron holes spawned from a narrow dimple in the electron velocity distribution. Most of the holes arising from the dimple are small and quickly leave the wake, approximately following the unperturbed electron phase-space trajectories, but some holes originating near the center of the wake remain and grow large enough to trigger disruption of the ion beams. Non-linear kinetic-electron effects are therefore essential to amore » comprehensive understanding of the 1D electrostatic stability of such wakes, and possible observational signatures in ARTEMIS data from the lunar wake are discussed.« less
Authors:
; ;  [1]
  1. Plasma Science and Fusion Center, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22408200
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Physics of Plasmas; Journal Volume: 22; Journal Issue: 3; Other Information: (c) 2015 AIP Publishing LLC; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY; BOLTZMANN EQUATION; COMPUTERIZED SIMULATION; ELECTRONS; HOLES; ION BEAMS; MACH NUMBER; NONLINEAR PROBLEMS; PHASE SPACE; PLASMA; PLASMA INSTABILITY; SOLAR WIND; SUPERSONIC FLOW; TRAJECTORIES