Computational Group for Astrophysics
and Space Physics

Merav Opher

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 H 2all,
Office: 363B Sci & Tech I
George Mason University
(703) 993-4571

Administrative Assistant:

Mari-Elainde Triolo
(703) 993-1264
Office hours: TR 10am-3pm or by appointment

  • Graduate positions available
  • Postdoc position available

 PAWARDED the 2007 PECASE (Presidential Early Career Award)

   Movie as part of the American Museum of Natural History
   "Journey to Stars Show" - link here to see a short version

  Read  NASA Press Release on Strong Interstellar Magnetic Field on our work

Research: Magnetic Field Processes in Space

Research Fields

  • Shock Physics
  • Magnetized Winds
  • Interaction of Solar System with Interstellar Medium
  • Coronal Mass Ejection Evolutions
  • Solar-Like Stars


  • Magnetic Field in Astrophysics (ASTR 790)
  • Space Plasma Physics (PHYS/ASTR 760)
  • Introduction to Astronomy II (ASTR 113)
  • Electrodynamic (PHYS 305)

Curriculum Vitae


  • NSF
  • NASA

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My research interests are magnetic field processes in space physics and astrophysics, particularly how magnetic field affect the interstellar medium, disks around young stars, solar, stellar winds, jets and the early universe. I am using sophisticated state-of-the-art numerical modeling as experiments in conjunction with new theoretical approaches and observational data. 

I am also interested in developing new computational models (such
as coupling Kinetic-MHD models; PIC Codes-MHD; new AMR techniques, etc).

Voyager 1 and 2, the most distant man-made objects are right now probing the confines of the solar system. It is believed that Voyager 1 in December 15, 2004 has exited the Termination Shock, the first boundary of the solar system, and now is going through the turbulent region the Heliosheath where magnetic effects are crucial. Voyager 2 in the August of 2007 crossed the shock going southward from Voyager 1.

Recently we predicted that the heliosphere is asymmetric and were able to match the Voyager 1 and 2 particle observations. By matching the radio data and particle we are able to find the plane of the interstellar magnetic field plane.

to learn more..


In 2005 Merav Opher joined the departments of Department of Physics and Astronomy of George Mason University.

Merav Opher received a B.A from the University of  SÃo Paulo, Brazil in 1992 and a Ph.D. in plasma astrophysics from the Astronomy Department of the University of SÃo Paulo, Brazil in 1998. We worked as scientific staff at Jet Propulsion Laboratory and  from 1999-2001. From 2001-2004 she was a Caltech Postdoctoral Scholar at JPL. Her previous post-doctoral experience was working in plasma astrophysics  in the plasma group at UCLA. There she worked with George Morales, Jean Noel Leuboff and John Dawson. Her research involved the study of the effects of electromagnetic fluctuations on nuclear reaction rates. Because the reaction rates are very sensitive to the high energy region of the particle spectrum, they can be affected by distortion of the particle distributions due to electromagnetic fluctuations. until coming to George Mason University.  Previously, she was a Caltech postdoctoral fellow working with Paulett Liewer (JPL) and Tamas Gombosi (University of Michigan). Before coming to JPL, she spent two years as a postdoctoral associate in the Cal

See full CV...
and download papers

Selected Recent Publications

  • M. Opher, et al. "A Strong highly-tilted Interstellar Magnetic Field near the Solar System"., Nature in press 2009

  • J. F. Drake, M. Opher, M. Swisdak and J. N. Chamoun, "A Magnetic Reconnection Mechanism for the Generation of Anomalous Cosmic Rays", ApJ 2010

  • A. A. Vidotto, M. Opher, V. Jatenco-Pereira and T. I. Gombosi, "Simulations of Winds of Weak-Lined T-Tauri Stars: The Magnetic Field Geometry and The Influence of the Wind on Giant Planet Migration", ApJ 2010

  • R. M. Evans, M. Opher, V. Jatenco-Pereira and T. I. Gombosi "Surface Alfven Wave Damping in a Three-Dimensional Simulation of the Solar Wind",  ApJ 2009



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