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The Astrophysical Journal


Two well-established magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) codes are coupled to model the solar corona and the inner heliosphere. The corona is simulated using the MHD algorithm outside a sphere (MAS) model. The Lyon–Fedder–Mobarry (LFM) model is used in the heliosphere. The interface between the models is placed in a spherical shell above the critical point and allows both models to work in either a rotating or an inertial frame. Numerical tests are presented examining the coupled model solutions from 20 to 50 solar radii. The heliospheric simulations are run with both LFM and the MAS extension into the heliosphere, and use the same polytropic coronal MAS solutions as the inner boundary condition. The coronal simulations are performed for idealized magnetic configurations, with an out-of-equilibrium flux rope inserted into an axisymmetric background, with and without including the solar rotation. The temporal evolution at the inner boundary of the LFM and MAS solutions is shown to be nearly identical, as are the steady-state background solutions, prior to the insertion of the flux rope. However, after the coronal mass ejection has propagated through the significant portion of the simulation domain, the heliospheric solutions diverge. Additional simulations with different resolution are then performed and show that the MAS heliospheric solutions approach those of LFM when run with progressively higher resolution. Following these detailed tests, a more realistic simulation driven by the thermodynamic coronal MAS is presented, which includes solar rotation and an azimuthally asymmetric background and extends to the Earth’s orbit.