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Supercomputers Simulate Solar Flares to Help Physicists Understand Magnetic Reconnection


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NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory in 2013 captured a high-resolution image of a solar flare's magnetic fields twisting and snapping off.

A team of researchers based in the U.S. and France developed a supercomputer simulation that successfully modeled a key part of the mysterious process that produces solar flares.

Credit: SDO/AIA/NASA

A team of researchers in the U.S. and France has developed a supercomputer simulation that successfully models a key part of a process that produces solar flares.

The team simulated an experiment conducted in China in 2010, in which the researchers blasted a piece of aluminum with high-energy lasers and recorded the event with high-speed instruments to capture the tiny, solar flare-like explosion at nanosecond time scales.

The researchers successfully simulated the results of the Chinese experiment using Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Titan supercomputer.

Said researcher Jackson Matteucci, "We model the field generation, and we model the collision of the fields, and we model the reconnection."

Even so, Matteucci added, “Analytical work is still struggling” to understand the theoretical underpinnings of the process.

From IEEE Spectrum
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Abstracts Copyright © 2019 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


 

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