Supercomputer simulates the magnetic field loops on the Sun


A visualisation of the magnetic field loops in a portion of the Sun, with colours representing magnetic field strength from weak (blue) to strong (red)
ROBERT STEIN, MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY; TIMOTHY SANDSTROM, NASA/AMES

Researchers at NASA and its university partners have come up with a simulation of how magnetic fields may emerge from beneath the surface of the Sun, heat its outer atmosphere and produce sunspots and flares.

The magnetic fields influence the solar wind — the stream of particles that blows continuously from the Sun’s atmosphere through the solar system.

But how they actually behave has remained elusive. Now researchers are using high-fidelity computer simulations better to understand them.

The above 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 Center in Moffett Field, California.

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