A picture of a sunspot.
Click on image for full size
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
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.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
includes issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist
, full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science, ranging from seismology
, rocks and minerals
, and Earth system science
You might also be interested in:
Sunspots are dark spots on the Sun. They may look small, but they are actually as big as a planet like Earth or Mars! Sunspots are "dark" because they are colder than the areas around them. Of course,...more
Plasma is known as the fourth state of matter. The other three states are solid, liquid and gas.Almost everything is made up of atoms (your dog, your science book, this computer...). The atom has a nucleus...more
Text for this level has not been written yet. Please see the "Intermediate" text for this page if you want to learn about this topic. To get to the "Intermediate" text, click on the blue "Intermediate"...more
Some science problems are so complicated that you need SUPERCOMPUTING power to tackle them! Just what is a supercomputer? A supercomputer is a computer that is one of the fastest or most powerful computers...more
Scientists have learned that Mount Hood, Oregon's tallest mountain, has erupted in the past due to the mixing of two different types of magma. Adam Kent, a geologist at Oregon State University, says this...more
The Earth's mantle is a rocky, solid shell that is between the Earth's crust and the outer core. The mantle is made up of many different reservoirs that have different chemical compositions. Scientists...more
Some faults look strong and like they wouldn’t cause an earthquake. But it turns out that they can slip and slide like weak faults causing earthquakes. Scientists have been looking at one of these faults...more