Source: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Authors: Jennifer Chu, MIT News

Published Date: Wed, 22 May 2024 11:00:00 -0400

Summary: A new MIT study suggests that the sun’s magnetic field might originate from instabilities in its outermost layers, challenging the previous belief that it is generated deep within the sun. Researchers created a precise model of the sun’s surface and found that perturbations in the top 5 to 10 percent of the sun could generate realistic magnetic field patterns similar to observed sunspots and flares. This shallow process, rather than deep internal dynamics, could explain the sun’s magnetic activity. The study, published in Nature, utilized the Dedalus Project’s numerical framework to simulate fluid flows and identify these patterns. This finding opens new avenues for understanding and predicting solar activity, potentially improving forecasts of geomagnetic storms.

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