Supercomputer simulation of magnetic field loops on the Sun

Date:26 November 2014 Tags:, , , ,

Magnetic fields emerging from below the surface of the Sun influence the solar wind — a stream of particles that blows continuously from the Sun’s atmosphere through the solar system. Researchers at Nasa and its university partners are using high-fidelity computer simulations to learn how these magnetic fields emerge, heat the Sun’s outer atmosphere and produce sunspots and flares.

This visualisation shows magnetic field loops in a portion of the Sun, with colours representing magnetic field strength from weak (blue) to strong (red). The simulation was run on the Pleiades supercomputer at the Nasa Advanced Supercomputing facility at Nasa’s Ames Research Centre.

The knowledge gained through simulation results like this one help researchers better understand the Sun, its variations and its interactions with Earth and the solar system.

Image credit: Robert Stein, Michigan State University; Timothy Sandstrom, Nasa/Ames