The beauty of sunspots has been revealed through the use of supercomputers (Photos: Matthias Rempel, NCAR)
Scientists simulated this physical process in a computer model running on NCAR's "bluefire" supercomputer. In this visualization of the model, red areas show outflow from the inner towards the outer edge of the penumbra, with strongest color showing a rate of nearly 5 miles per second
This 3D schematic highlights some of the magnetic field lines in one sunspot's penumbra. The red field lines show a typical filament in the inner penumbra, green shows a typical filament in the outer penumbra. The anchoring points for the blue field lines were chosen randomly to give the visualization a background field not necessarily associated with the individual filaments shown
These four simulations show the transition zone from the umbra (inner region) at right in each image to the penumbra (outer region) at left for a single sunspot.
An international team of scientists led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) has created the first-ever comprehensive computer model of sunspots. It is hoped the use of the supercomputer modeling - the supercomputers undertake 76 trillion calculations per second - will help scientists unlock mysteries of the sun and its impacts on Earth.
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