A godunov method for multidimensional radiation magnetohydrodynamics based on a variable Eddington tensor

Yan Fei Jiang, James McLellan Stone, Shane W. Davis

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100 Scopus citations


We describe a numerical algorithm to integrate the equations of radiation magnetohydrodynamics in multidimensions using Godunov methods. This algorithm solves the radiation moment equations in the mixed frame, without invoking any diffusion-like approximations. The moment equations are closed using a variable Eddington tensor whose components are calculated from a formal solution of the transfer equation at a large number of angles using the method of short characteristics. We use a comprehensive test suite to verify the algorithm, including convergence tests of radiation-modified linear acoustic and magnetosonic waves, the structure of radiation-modified shocks, and two-dimensional tests of photon bubble instability and the ablation of dense clouds by an intense radiation field. These tests cover a very wide range of regimes, including both optically thick and thin flows, and ratios of the radiation to gas pressure of at least 10 -4-10 4. Across most of the parameter space, we find that the method is accurate. However, the tests also reveal there are regimes where the method needs improvement, for example when both the radiation pressure and absorption opacity are very large. We suggest modifications to the algorithm that will improve the accuracy in this case. We discuss the advantages of this method over those based on flux-limited diffusion. In particular, we find that the method is not only substantially more accurate, but often no more expensive than the diffusion approximation for our intended applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number14
JournalAstrophysical Journal, Supplement Series
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • magnetohydrodynamics (MHD)
  • methods: numerical
  • radiative transfer


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