A mixed method Poisson solver for three-dimensional self-gravitating astrophysical fluid dynamical systems

Comer Duncan

Department of Physics and Astronomy, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH 43403

Jim Jones

Computational Mathematics Group, Department of Mathematics, University of Colorado at Denver, Denver, CO 80217


A key ingredient in the simulation of self-gravitating astrophysical fluid dynamical systems is the gravitational potential and its gradient. This paper focuses on the development of a mixed method multigrid solver of the Poisson equation formulated so that both the potential and the Cartesian components of its gradient are self-consistently and accurately generated. The method achieves this goal by formulating the problem as a system of four equations for the gravitational potential and the three Cartesian components of the gradient and solves them using a distributed relaxation technique combined with conventional full multigrid V-cyles. The method is described, some tests are presented, and the accuracy of the method is assessed. We also describe how the method has been incorporated into our three-dimensional hydrodynamics code and give an example of an application to the collision of two stars. We end with some remarks about the future developments of the method and some of the applications in which it will be used in astrophysics.