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Archive for November 29, 2014

Supercomputer For Astronomy “ATERUI” Upgraded To Double Its Speed

November 29, 2014 Leave a comment

The Center for Computational Astrophysics (CfCA) of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan upgraded the supercomputer Cray XC30 system “ATERUI”. By introducing state-of-the-art CPUs, the theoretical peak performance increased from 502 Tflops to 1.058 Pflops, which means that ATERUI made the leap to become a petaflops computer. The new ATERUI will expand the horizons for simulations to understand the Universe and astrophysical phenomena.

Data obtained by observations are snapshots of astronomical phenomena. To understand these data, we need to construct theories based on physics, and conduct experiments based on those theories. However, virtually no astronomical phenomena can be reconstructed in a laboratory due to the spatial and time scales involved. On the other hand, theoretical astronomy tries to understand astronomical phenomena by solving equations. In some cases, it is not easy to solve the equations by hand, so powerful computers assist astronomers.

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Huge Sunspots And Their Magnetic Structure Observed By “Hinode”

November 29, 2014 Leave a comment

Credit: Solar Flare Telescope of the Solar Observatory/NAOJ

Credit: Solar Flare Telescope of the Solar Observatory/NAOJ

In the latter half of October, huge sunspots were observed on the surface of the Sun. These sunspots appeared at the east limb of the Sun on Oct. 16, and moved to the west as the Sun rotated. They rotated out of view after Oct. 30. On Oct. 26, the total area of these sunspots became almost 66 times larger than the Earth’s cross section. This was the largest sunspot area in this solar cycle, and the largest observed in the last 24 years (since Nov. 18, 1990). In the middle of November, these sunspots appeared again at the east limb, as the Sun’s rotation brought them back into view.

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