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01-12-2020 | Research | Issue 1/2020 Open Access

Computational Astrophysics and Cosmology 1/2020

Technologies for supporting high-order geodesic mesh frameworks for computational astrophysics and space sciences

Computational Astrophysics and Cosmology > Issue 1/2020
Vladimir Florinski, Dinshaw S. Balsara, Sudip Garain, Katharine F. Gurski


Many important problems in astrophysics, space physics, and geophysics involve flows of (possibly ionized) gases in the vicinity of a spherical object, such as a star or planet. The geometry of such a system naturally favors numerical schemes based on a spherical mesh. Despite its orthogonality property, the polar (latitude-longitude) mesh is ill suited for computation because of the singularity on the polar axis, leading to a highly non-uniform distribution of zone sizes. The consequences are (a) loss of accuracy due to large variations in zone aspect ratios, and (b) poor computational efficiency from a severe limitations on the time stepping. Geodesic meshes, based on a central projection using a Platonic solid as a template, solve the anisotropy problem, but increase the complexity of the resulting computer code. We describe a new finite volume implementation of Euler and MHD systems of equations on a triangular geodesic mesh (TGM) that is accurate up to fourth order in space and time and conserves the divergence of magnetic field to machine precision. The paper discusses in detail the generation of a TGM, the domain decomposition techniques, three-dimensional conservative reconstruction, and time stepping.

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