What is This? A Bioluminescent Mushroom?

Hint: It's actually not on the ground, nor in the oceans, but up in the sky—way up in the sky.

By Andrew Grant|Wednesday, October 21, 2009
RELATED TAGS: STARS
stellar
stellar

 

Image courtesy of Professor Paul Woodward, Laboratory for Computational Science and Engineering, University of Minnesota

Answer: Stellar turbulence

This computer-rendered image depicts a Rayleigh-Taylor instability: a turbulent, gravity-driven mixing of fluids that occurs in stars (and in boiling water) when a heavy substance sits atop a lighter one.

Astrophysicists at the University of Minnesota conducted a supercomputer simulation of sun-like stars to model this turbulence, which violently but effectively circulates heat in the region just below the stellar surface.

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