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Convection Currents

Computer model by Robert Stein, Michigan State University, and Åke Nordlund, Neils Bohr Institute for Astronomy, Physics, and Geophysics

Masterworks of computer simulation have played as much a role in fathoming solar behavior as advances in satellites and Earth-based telescopes. Direct images and data "tell us what's there but not why it's there," explains astrophysicist Robert Stein. Discoveries made with theoretical modeling lead scientists to look for supporting physical evidence. Stein's model of rising and falling convection currents (above; red is hottest plasma, blue coolest) simulates an area half the size of Earth.



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