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Solar Explorations – Surface Flows in Ultra-High Resolution

Project SOLEX
Research Area Astrophysics
Principal Investigator(s) Herbert J. MUTHSAM
  • Faculty of Mathematics, University of Vienna, Austria
  • Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics, Germany


The outermost regions of the Sun harbour violent magnetohydrodynamic processes which ultimately lead to ‘space weather’ and exert influences even upon the Earth. As these processes are truly multiscale, innovative observational technologies are applied from Earth, balloons and space to achieve the highest resolution. – We, in this project, achieve ultra-high resolution by numerically modelling these magnetohydrodynamic flows (‘solar granulation’) in the ‘quiet’ solar atmosphere (away from sunspots etc.) at a resolution which, via grid-refinement in crucial regions, by far exceeds every resolution attained up to now in computer models, even surpassing what is observationally feasible. In addition, we can peek into depths into which no direct observation can possibly look. There are hints that just at those small scales we resolve for the first time processes may occur, which are decisive for global solar phenomena (excitation of 5-minute oscillations, atmospheric turbulence, possibly heating of the chromosphere and corona, possibly existence of a solar surface dynamo).


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