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A picture of a sunspot.
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Courtesy of Matthias Rempel, NCAR

Scientists Create First Comprehensive Computer Model of Sunspots
News story originally written on June 18, 2009

Scientists in Germany and the United States have developed a computer model that will simulate sunspots. Sunspots are big ejections of plasma that change the magnetic activity of the sun. You can see them as dark spots on the sun. Sunspots disturb communications, power, satellites and weather on earth, costing many industries a lot of money.

The computer model will allow scientist to learn more about the sun and how sunspots are caused. Modeling sunspots was not possible before because fast enough supercomputers to do all the math calculations were not available and we did not have good enough instruments to watch the sun to learn more about sunspots. As supercomputers become faster and technology continues to advance, better simulations will become possible.

Last modified August 24, 2009 by Jennifer Bergman.

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