[W]ith increasingly-sophisticated solar observatories (such as NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory), we are getting an ever more detailed look at what’s going on inside the sun’s deep atmosphere and, with improvements of theoretical models and increases in computer processing power, simulations of the corona are looking more and more like the real thing… Rather than forcing their simulation to generate flares, they re-enacted the conditions of the sun that were observed and just let their simulation run to create its own flares. “Our model was able to capture the entire process, from the buildup of energy to emergence at the surface to rising into the corona, energizing the corona, and then getting to the point when the energy is released in a solar flare,” said NCAR scientist Matthias Rempel in a statement. “This was a stand-alone simulation that was inspired by observed data. “
They’re calling it “a three-dimensional radiative magnetohydrodynamic simulation of a solar flare,” and Discover magazine breaks down the colors in the image — for example, green shows the hottest plasma, with temperatures over 10 million K (or nearly 18 million F).
“A single flare can release the equivalent of millions of hydrogen bombs all going off at the same time.”