Tagged: Texas Advanced Computing Center (US) Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • richardmitnick 10:09 pm on November 8, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Hunting for Alien Planets", , , , , , TACC helps Penn State's NEID spectrometer start its scientific mission., Texas Advanced Computing Center (US)   

    From Texas Advanced Computing Center (US) : “Hunting for Alien Planets” 

    From Texas Advanced Computing Center (US)

    November 8, 2021

    Suvrath Mahadevan and Sam Sholtis, The Pennsylvania State University (US)

    Jorge Salazar, The Texas Advanced Computing Center (US)

    TACC helps Penn State’s NEID spectrometer start its scientific mission

    NOAO WIYN 3.5 meter telescope interior.

    NOAO WIYN 3.5 meter telescope at NSF NOIRLab NOAO Kitt Peak National Observatory (US) in Arizona, USA, in Arizona-Sonoran Desert on the Tohono O’odham Nation Arizona USA, elevation 6,886 ft.

    National Science Foundation(US) NOIRLab (US) NOAO Kitt Peak National Observatory (US) on Kitt Peak of the Quinlan Mountains in the Arizona-Sonoran Desert on the Tohono O’odham Nation, 88 kilometers (55 mi) west-southwest of Tucson, Arizona, Altitude 2,096 m (6,877 ft), annotated.

    NEID chamber for the WIYN telescope. Photos courtesy of NOAO WIYN and Washburn Labs-University of Wisconsin.

    Thousands of alien worlds are known to orbit stars beyond our solar system. And many more worlds, possibly harboring life, lie waiting to be discovered. A new astronomical instrument called NEID, the NN-explore Exoplanet Investigations with Doppler spectroscopy, has come online in 2021 to help scientists hunt for new alien worlds.

    2
    The NEID instrument is shown mounted on the 3.5-meter WIYN telescope at the Kitt Peak National Observatory. Credit: NSF NOIRlab (US)/KPNO/NSF/The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA)(US).

    The Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) is assisting the effort with supercomputer time and expertise in NEID’s scientific search for new worlds.

    The name ‘NEID’ derives from the word meaning “to see” in the native language of the Tohono O’odham, on whose land Kitt Peak National Observatory is located. NEID is a spectrograph attached to the WIYN 3.5m telescope at the observatory in Arizona.

    “We’re proud that NEID is available to the worldwide astronomical community for exoplanet discovery and characterization,” said Jason Wright, professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Penn State and NEID project scientist. “I can’t wait to see the results we and our colleagues around the world will produce over the next few years from discovering new, rocky planets, to measuring the compositions of exoplanetary atmospheres, to measuring the shapes and orientations of planetary orbits, to characterization of the physical processes of these planets’ host stars.”

    NEID does this by breaking down visible light from distant stars into its component wavelengths with a spectrograph, like a simple prism does but with additional parts such as diffraction gratings. Optical fibers feed starlight to the spectrograph, where light signatures are recorded by a detector.

    NEID takes advantage of the Doppler effect. The light data collected can be used to detect minute shifts in wavelength over time, which like the pitch change of an approaching or receding train horn, indicates movement. The wobbly movement evidenced by light wavelength shifts indicates a gravitational tug on a host star by potentially undiscovered planets.

    Each night, NEID collects about 150 gigabytes of light data that is sent to The California Institute of Technology (US) and then to TACC for processing. The center developed a fully automated computational pipeline for NEID data.

    “The pipeline copies data to us from Caltech via the Globus research data management network,” said Mike Packard of TACC’s Cloud & Interactive Computing (CIC) group. “A data analysis then runs on TACC’s Frontera system [below].

    It uses the Tapis API to store metadata. Then it sends the data back to Caltech for scientists to analyze.”

    The NASA Exoplanet Science Institute coordinates the data processing and makes the data available through its community archive.

    The Tapis project, funded by the National Science Foundation, is a collaboration of TACC and the ITS-Cyberinfrastructure group at The University of Hawaii (US). Tapis provides a hosted, unified web-based API for securely managing computational workloads across institutions.

    “NEID is the first of hopefully many collaborations with the JPL/Caltech-NASA (US) and other institutions where automated data analysis pipelines run with no human-in-the-loop,” said Joe Stubbs, who leads TACC’s CIC group and is the lead technical person at TACC on the NEID project. Stubbs is also a principal investigator on the Tapis project.

    “Tapis Pipelines, a new project that has grown out of this collaboration, generalizes the concepts developed for NEID so that other projects can automate distributed data analysis on TACC’s supercomputers in a secure and reliable way with minimal human supervision,” Stubbs said.

    The NEID pipeline has used several thousand compute hours on TACC’s Lonestar5 [below], Frontera, and Stampede2 [below]supercomputers. Furthermore, TACC supports NEID with virtual machines, hardware nodes on the Rodeo cloud system, and network connectivity to Globus Online.

    Built as part of a joint NSF and NASA program, NEID’s mission is to enable some of the highest precision measurements currently possible, as well as to attempt to chart a path to the discovery of terrestrial planets around other stars.

    The seething convection on the surface of stars, threaded by invisible lines of magnetic force and marred by ever changing active regions and “starspots” can pose a substantial challenge to NEID’s measurements. This stellar activity is one of the major impediments to enabling the detection of rocky planets like our own. For very small signals it is difficult to tell which are planets and which are just manifestations of stellar activity.

    However, the researchers added, there is one star for which we know the answer, because we know exactly how many planets orbit it — our sun. In addition to observing stars during the night, NEID will also look at the sun through a special smaller solar telescope that the team has developed.

    “Thanks to the NEID solar telescope funded by the Heising-Simons Foundation, NEID won’t sit idle during the day,” said Eric Ford, professor of astronomy and astrophysics and director of Penn State’s Center for Exoplanets and Habitable Worlds.

    2
    NEID Solar Telescope | NOIRLab. Credit: KPNO/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA.

    “Instead, it will carry out a second mission, collecting a unique dataset that will enhance the ability of machine learning algorithms to recognize the signals of low-mass planets during the nighttime.”

    The NEID instrument is funded by the joint NASA/NSF Exoplanet Observation Research Program, NN-EXPLORE, managed by JPL, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, California. The 3.5-meter WIYN Telescope is a partnership among The Indiana University (US), The University of Wisconsin (US), Penn State, The University of Missouri-Columbia (US), Purdue University (US), NOIRLab and NASA.

    The NEID team includes members at Penn State, JPL, NOIRLab, The Goddard Space Flight Center-NASA (US), The University of Pennsylvania (US), The University of Arizona (US), the University of Wisconsin, The National Institute of Standards and Technology (US) / The University of Colorado-Boulder (US)(NIST/CU), The Space Telescope Science Institute (US), The Macquarie University (AU), Princeton University (US), Carleton College (US), and The University of California-Irvine (US).

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) (US) designs and operates some of the world’s most powerful computing resources. The center’s mission is to enable discoveries that advance science and society through the application of advanced computing technologies.

    TACC Maverick HP NVIDIA supercomputer

    TACC Lonestar Cray XC40 supercomputer

    Dell Poweredge U Texas Austin Stampede Supercomputer. Texas Advanced Computer Center 9.6 PF

    TACC HPE Apollo 8000 Hikari supercomputer

    TACC DELL EMC Stampede2 supercomputer

    TACC Frontera Dell EMC supercomputer fastest at any university.

     
  • richardmitnick 3:52 pm on October 21, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "What happens when a meteor hits the atmosphere?", , Astronomers are leaps and bounds ahead of where they were 20 years ago in terms being able to model meteor ablation., , Every second millions of pieces of dirt that are smaller than a grain of sand strike Earth's upper atmosphere., Meteor ablation physics, Meteor composition helps astronomers characterize the space environment of our solar system., Meteors play an important role in upper atmospheric science not just for the Earth but for other planets as well., Scientists also track with radar the plasma generated by meteors., Scientists are using supercomputers to help understand how tiny meteors-invisible to the naked eye-liberate electrons that can be detected by radar., , Texas Advanced Computing Center (US)   

    From Texas Advanced Computing Center (US) : “What happens when a meteor hits the atmosphere?” 

    From Texas Advanced Computing Center (US)

    October 21, 2021
    Jorge Salazar, Texas Advanced Computing Center

    1
    XSEDE Stampede2 [below] simulations are helping reveal the physics of what happens when a meteor strikes the atmosphere. Credit: Jacek Halicki/CC BY-SA 4.0.

    In the heavens above, it’s raining dirt.

    Every second millions of pieces of dirt that are smaller than a grain of sand strike Earth’s upper atmosphere. At about 100 kilometers altitude, bits of dust, mainly debris from asteroid collisions, zing through the sky vaporizing as they go 10 to 100 times the speed of a bullet. The bigger ones can make streaks in the sky, meteors that take our breath away.

    Scientists are using supercomputers to help understand how tiny meteors-invisible to the naked eye-liberate electrons that can be detected by radar and can characterize the speed, direction and rate of meteor deceleration with high precision, allowing its origin to be determined. Because this falling space dust helps seed rain-making clouds, this basic research on meteors will help scientists more fully understand the chemistry of Earth’s atmosphere. What’s more, meteor composition helps astronomers characterize the space environment of our solar system.

    Meteors play an important role in upper atmospheric science not just for the Earth but for other planets as well. They allow scientists to be able to diagnose what’s in the air using pulsed laser remote sensing lidar, which bounces off meteor dust to reveal the temperature, density, and the winds of the upper atmosphere.

    Scientists also track with radar the plasma generated by meteors, determining how fast winds are moving in the upper atmosphere by how fast the plasma is pushed around. It’s a region that’s impossible to study with satellites, as the atmospheric drag at these altitudes will cause the spacecraft to re-enter the atmosphere.

    The meteor research was published in June 2021 in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics of the American Geophysical Society.

    In it, lead author Glenn Sugar of Johns Hopkins University (US) developed computer simulations to model the physics of what happens when a meteor hits the atmosphere. The meteor heats up and sheds material at hypersonic speeds in a process called ablation. The shed material slams into atmospheric molecules and turns into glowing plasma.

    “What we’re trying to do with the simulations of the meteors is mimic that very complex process of ablation, to see if we understand the physics going on; and to also develop the ability to interpret high-resolution observations of meteors, primarily radar observations of meteors,” said study co-author Meers Oppenheim, professor of Astronomy at Boston University (US).

    Large radar dishes, such as the iconic but now defunct Arecibo radar telescope, have recorded multiple meteors per second in a little tiny patch of sky.

    NAIC Arecibo Observatory(US) operated by University of Central Florida(US), Yang Enterprises(US) and Ana G. Méndez University[Universidad Ana G. Méndez, Recinto de Cupey](PR) Altitude 497 m (1,631 ft), which has now collapsed.

    According to Oppenheim, this means the Earth is getting hit by millions and millions of meteors every second.

    2
    Representative plasma frequency distributions used in meteor ablation simulations. Credit: Sugar et al.

    “Interpreting those measurements has been tricky,” he said. “Knowing what we’re looking at when we see these measurements is not so easy to understand.”

    The simulations in the paper basically set up a box that represents a chunk of atmosphere. In the middle of the box, a tiny meteor is placed, spewing out atoms. The particle-in-cell, finite-difference time-domain simulations were used to generate density distributions of the plasma generated by meteor atoms as their electrons are stripped off in collisions with air molecules.

    “Radars are really sensitive to free electrons,” Oppenheim explained. “You make a big, conical plasma that develops immediately in front of the meteoroid and then gets swept out behind the meteoroid. That then is what the radar observes. We want to be able to go from what the radar has observed back to how big that meteoroid is. The simulations allow us to reverse engineer that.”

    The goal is to be able to look at the signal strength of radar observations and be able to get physical characteristics on the meteor, such as size and composition.

    “Up to now we’ve only had very crude estimates of that. The simulations allow us to go beyond the simple crude estimates,” Oppenheim said.

    “Analytical theory works really well when you can say, ‘Okay, this single phenomenon is happening, independently of these other phenomena.’ But when it’s all happening at once, it becomes so messy. Simulations become the best tool,” Oppenheim said.

    Oppenheim was awarded supercomputer time by the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) on TACC’s Stampede2 supercomputer [below] for the meteor simulations.

    “Now we’re really able to use the power of Stampede2—these giant supercomputers—to evaluate meteor ablation in incredible detail,” said Oppenheim. “XSEDE made this research possible by making it easy for me, the students, and research associates to take advantage of the supercomputers.”

    “The systems are well run,” he added. “We use many mathematical packages and data storage packages. They’re all pre-compiled and ready for us to use on XSEDE. They also have good documentation. And the XSEDE staff has been very good. When we run into a bottleneck or hurdle, they’re very helpful. It’s been a terrific asset to have.”

    Astronomers are leaps and bounds ahead of where they were 20 years ago in terms being able to model meteor ablation. Oppenheim referred to a 2020 study [Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics] led by Boston University undergraduate Gabrielle Guttormsen that simulates tiny meteor ablation to see how fast it heats up and how much material bubbles away.

    Meteor ablation physics is very hard to do with pen and paper calculations, because meteors are incredibly inhomogeneous, said Oppenheim. “You’re essentially modeling explosions. All this physics is happening in milliseconds, hundreds of milliseconds for the bigger ones, and for the bolides, the giant fireballs that can last a few seconds, we’re talking seconds. They’re explosive events.”

    Oppenheim’s team models ablation all the way from picoseconds, which is the time scale of the meteor disintegrating and the atoms interacting when the air molecules slam into them. The meteors are often traveling at ferocious speeds of 50 kilometers a second or even up to 70 kilometers a second.

    Oppenheim outlined three different types of simulations he’s conducting to attack the meteor ablation problem. First, he uses molecular dynamics, that looks at individual atoms as the air molecules slam into the small particles at picosecond time resolution.

    Next, he uses a different simulator to watch what happens as those molecules then fly away, and then the independent molecules slam into the air molecules and become a plasma with electromagnetic radiation. Finally, he takes that plasma and launches a virtual radar at it, listening for the echoes there.

    So far, he hasn’t been able to combine these three simulations into one. It’s what he describes as a ‘stiff problem,’ with too many timescales for today’s technology to handle one self-consistent simulation.

    Oppenheim said he plans to apply for supercomputer time on TACC’s NSF-funded Frontera supercomputer [below], the fastest academic supercomputer on the planet.

    “Stampede2 is good for lots of smaller test runs, but if you have something really massive, Frontera is meant for that,” he said.

    Said Oppenheim: “Supercomputers give scientists the power to investigate in detail the real physical processes, not simplified toy models. They’re ultimately a tool for numerically testing ideas and coming to a better understanding of the nature of meteor physics and everything in the universe.”

    See the full article here.

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) (US) designs and operates some of the world’s most powerful computing resources. The center’s mission is to enable discoveries that advance science and society through the application of advanced computing technologies.

    TACC Frontera Dell EMC supercomputer fastest at any university.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:22 am on August 12, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Protecting Earth from Space Storms", , TACC Frontera Dell EMC supercomputer fastest at any university., Texas Advanced Computing Center (US)   

    From Texas Advanced Computing Center (US) : “Protecting Earth from Space Storms” 

    From Texas Advanced Computing Center (US)

    August 11, 2021
    Aaron Dubrow

    1
    Space weather modeling framework simulation of the Sept 10, 2014 coronal mass ejection during solar maximum. The radial magnetic field is shown on the surface of the Sun in gray scale. The magnetic field lines on the flux rope are colored with the velocity. The background is colored with the electron number density. [Credit: Gabor Toth, University of Michigan (US)]

    “There are only two natural disasters that could impact the entire U.S.,” according to Gabor Toth, professor of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering at the University of Michigan. “One is a pandemic and the other is an extreme space weather event.”

    We’re currently seeing the effects of the first in real-time.

    The last major space weather event struck the Earth in 1859 [Carrington Event]. Smaller, but still significant, space weather events occur regularly. These fry electronics and power grids, disrupt global positioning systems, cause shifts in the range of the Aurora Borealis, and raise the risk of radiation to astronauts or passengers on planes crossing over the poles.

    “We have all these technological assets that are at risk,” Toth said. “If an extreme event like the one in 1859 happened again, it would completely destroy the power grid and satellite and communications systems — the stakes are much higher.”

    Motivated by the White House National Space Weather Strategy and Action Plan and the National Strategic Computing Initiative, in 2020 the National Science Foundation (US) and National Aeronautics Space Agency (US) created the Space Weather with Quantified Uncertainties (SWQU) program. It brings together research teams from across scientific disciplines to advance the latest statistical analysis and high performance computing methods within the field of space weather modeling.

    “We are very proud to have launched the SWQU projects by bringing together expertise and supports across multiple scientific domains in a joint effort between NSF and NASA,” said Vyacheslav (Slava) Lukin, the Program Director for Plasma Physics at NSF. “The need has been recognized for some time, and the portfolio of six projects, Gabor Toth’s among them, engages not only the leading university groups, but also NASA Centers, Department of Defense (US) and National Laboratories | Department of Energy (US), as well as the private sector.”

    2
    Meridional cut from an advanced three-dimensional magnetosphere simulation. The Earth is at the center of the black circle that is the inner boundary at 2.5 Earth radii. The white lines are magnetic field lines. The colors show density. The blue rectangle indicates where the kinetic model is used, which is coupled with the global magnetohydrodynamic model. Credit: Chen, Yuxi & Toth, Gabor & Hietala, Heli & Vines, Sarah & Zou, Ying & Nishimura, Yukitoshi & Silveira, Marcos & Guo, Zhifang & Lin, Yu & Markidis, Stefano.

    Toth helped develop today’s preeminent space weather prediction model, which is used for operational forecasting by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). On February 3, 2021, NOAA began using the Geospace Model Version 2.0, which is part of the University of Michigan’s Space Weather Modeling Framework, to predict geomagnetic disturbances.

    “We’re constantly improving our models,” Toth said. The new model replaces version 1.5 which has been in operations since November 2017. “The main change in version 2 was the refinement of the numerical grid in the magnetosphere, several improvements in the algorithms, and a recalibration of the empirical parameters.”

    The Geospace Model is based on a global representation of Earth’s Geospace environment that includes magnetohydrodynamics — the properties and behavior of electrically conducting fluids like plasma interacting with magnetic fields, which plays a key role in the dynamics of space weather.

    The Geospace model predicts magnetic disturbances on the ground resulting from geospace interactions with solar wind. Such magnetic disturbances induce a geoelectric field that can damage large-scale electrical conductors, such as the power grid.

    Short-term advanced warning from the model provides forecasters and power grid operators with situational awareness about harmful currents and allows time to mitigate the problem and maintain the integrity of the electric power grid, NOAA announced at the time of the launch.

    As advanced as the Geospace Model is, it provides only about 30 minutes of advanced warning. Toth’s team is one of several groups working to increase lead time to one to three days. Doing so means understanding how activity on the surface of the Sun leads to events that can impact the Earth.

    “We’re currently using data from a satellite measuring plasma parameters one million miles away from the Earth,” Toth explained. Researchers hope to start from the Sun, using remote observation of the Sun’s surface — in particular, coronal mass ejections that produce flares that are visible in X-rays and UV light. “That happens early on the Sun. From that point, we can run a model and predict the arrival time and impact of magnetic events.”

    Improving the lead time of space weather forecasts requires new methods and algorithms that can compute far faster than those used today and can be deployed efficiently on high performance computers. Toth uses the Frontera supercomputer [below]at the Texas Advanced Computing Center — the fastest academic system in the world and the 10th most powerful overall — to develop and test these new methods.

    “I consider myself really good at developing new algorithms,” Toth said. “I apply these to space physics, but many of the algorithms I develop are more general and not restricted to one application.”

    A key algorithmic improvement made by Toth involved finding a novel way to combine the kinetic and fluid aspects of plasmas in one simulation model. “People tried it before and failed. But we made it work. We go a million times faster than brute-force simulations by inventing smart approximations and algorithms,” Toth said.

    The new algorithm dynamically adapts the location covered by the kinetic model based on the simulation results. The model identifies the regions of interests and places the kinetic model and the computational resources to focus on them. This can result in a 10 to 100 time speed up for space weather models.

    As part of the NSF SWQU project, Toth and his team has been working on making the Space Weather Modeling Framework run efficiently on future supercomputers that rely heavily on graphical processing units (GPUs). As a first goal, they set out to port the Geospace model to GPUs using the NVIDIA Fortran compiler with OpenACC directives.

    They recently managed to run the full Geospace model faster than real-time on a single GPU. They used TACC’s GPU-enabled Longhorn machine to reach this milestone. To run the model with the same speed on traditional supercomputer requires at least 100 CPU cores.

    “It took a whole year of code development to make this happen, Toth said. “The goal is to run an ensemble of simulations fast and efficiently to provide a probabilistic space weather forecast.”

    This type of probabilistic forecasting is important for another aspect of Toth’s research: localizing predictions in terms of the impact on the surface of Earth.

    “Should we worry in Michigan or only in Canada? What is the maximum induced current particular transformers will experience? How long will generators need to be shut off? To do this accurately, you need a model you believe in,” he said. “Whatever we predict, there’s always some uncertainty. We want to give predictions with precise probabilities, similar to terrestrial weather forecasts.”

    Toth and his team run their code in parallel on thousands of cores on Frontera for each simulation. They plan to run thousands of simulations over the coming years to see how model parameters affect the results to find the best model parameters and to be able to attach probabilities to simulation results.

    “Without Frontera, I don’t think we could do this research,” Toth said. “When you put together smart people and big computers, great things can happen.”

    The Michigan Sun-to-Earth Model, including the SWMF Geospace and the new GPU port, is available as open-source at https://github.com/MSTEM-QUDA. Toth and his collaborators published a review of recent and in-progress developments to the model in the May issue of EOS.

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) (US) designs and operates some of the world’s most powerful computing resources. The center’s mission is to enable discoveries that advance science and society through the application of advanced computing technologies.

    TACC Frontera Dell EMC supercomputer fastest at any university.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:39 pm on June 4, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Which Way Does the Solar Wind Blow?", Backstreaming ions-either of interstellar or local origin are picked up by the magnetized solar wind plasma and move radially outwards from the Sun., Fifteen years ago we didn't know much about the interstellar medium or solar wind properties., Like a pandemic-something we knew was possible and catastrophic-we may not realize its dangers until it's too late., One of the major focuses of space weather prediction is correctly forecasting the arrival of coronal mass ejections., Solar plasma is not in thermal equilibrium. This creates interesting features., Space weather events can be catastrophic., Space weather requires a real-time product so we can predict impacts before an event and not just afterward., Texas Advanced Computing Center (US), Today computers are central to the quest to understand the sun's behavior and its role in space weather events.   

    From Texas Advanced Computing Center (US): “Which Way Does the Solar Wind Blow?” 

    From Texas Advanced Computing Center (US)

    June 3, 2021
    Aaron Dubrow

    1
    (Top panel, from left to right) July 12, 2012 coronal mass ejection seen in STEREO B Cor2, SOHO C2, and STEREO A Cor2 coronagraphs, respectively. (Bottom panel) The same images overlapped with the model results. [Credit: Talwinder Singh, Mehmet S. Yalim, Nikolai V. Pogorelov, and Nat Gopalswamy, with permission of The American Astronomical Society]

    The surface of the sun churns with energy and frequently ejects masses of highly-magnetized plasma towards Earth. Sometimes these ejections are strong enough to crash through the magnetosphere — the natural magnetic shield that protects the Earth — damaging satellites or electrical grids. Such space weather events can be catastrophic.

    Astronomers have studied the sun’s activity for centuries with greater and greater understanding. Today computers are central to the quest to understand the sun’s behavior and its role in space weather events.

    The bipartisan PROSWIFT (Promoting Research and Observations of Space Weather to Improve the Forecasting of Tomorrow) Act, passed into law in October 2020, is formalizing the need to develop better space weather forecasting tools.

    “Space weather requires a real-time product so we can predict impacts before an event and not just afterward,” explained Nikolai Pogorelov, distinguished professor of Space Science at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (US), who has been using computers to study space weather for decades. “This subject – related to national space programs, environmental, and other issues – was recently escalated to a higher level.”

    To many, space weather may seem like a distant concern, but like a pandemic — something we knew was possible and catastrophic — we may not realize its dangers until it’s too late.

    “We don’t think about it, but electrical communication, GPS, and everyday gadgets can be effected by extreme space weather effects,” Pogorelov said.

    Furthermore, the U.S. is planning missions to other planets and the moon. All will require very accurate predictions of space weather – for the design of spacecraft and to alert astronauts to extreme events.

    With funding from the National Science Foundation (US) and National Aeronautics Space Agency (US), Pogorelov leads a team working to improve the state-of-the-art in space weather forecasting.

    3
    The coronal mass ejection threaded by magnetic field lines in the equatorial slice colored by plasma temperature. [From Space Weather April 2020, with permission of the American Geophysical Union (US).]

    “This research, blending intricate science, advanced computing and exciting observations, will advance our understanding of how the Sun drives space weather and its effects on Earth,” said Mangala Sharma, Program Director for Space Weather in the Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences at NSF. “The work will help scientists predict space weather events and build our nation’s resilience against these potential natural hazards.”

    The multi-institutional effort involves the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (US) and NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (US), DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (US), and two private companies, Predictive Science Inc. and Space Systems Research Corporation.

    Pogorelov uses the Frontera supercomputer [below] at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) — the ninth fastest in the world — as well as at both the NASA Advanced Supercomputing (NAS) Facility (US) at NASA’s Ames Research Center (US), and the San Diego Supercomputing Center (US), to improve the models and methods at the heart of space weather forecasting.

    Turbulence plays a key role in the dynamics of the solar wind and coronal mass ejections. This complex phenomenon has many facets, including the role of shock-turbulence interaction and ion acceleration.

    “Solar plasma is not in thermal equilibrium. This creates interesting features,” Pogorelov said.

    Writing in The Astrophysical Journal in April 2021, Pogorelov, along with Michael Gedalin (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev [אוניברסיטת בן-גוריון בנגב] (IL)), and Vadim Roytershteyn (Space Science Institute – Boulder Colorado (US)) described the role of backstreaming pickup ions in the acceleration of charged particles in the universe. Backstreaming ions-either of interstellar or local origin are picked up by the magnetized solar wind plasma and move radially outwards from the Sun.

    “Some non-thermal particles can be further accelerated to create solar energetic particles that are particularly important for space weather conditions on Earth and for people in space,” he said.

    Pogorelov performed simulations on Frontera to better understand this phenomenon and compare it with observations from Voyager 1 and 2, the spacecraft that explored the outer reaches of the heliosphere and are now providing unique data from the local interstellar medium.

    One of the major focuses of space weather prediction is correctly forecasting the arrival of coronal mass ejections — the release of plasma and accompanying magnetic field from the solar corona — and determining the direction of the magnetic field it carries with it. Pogorelov’s team’s study of backstreaming ions help to do so, as does work published in The Astrophysical Journal in 2020 that used a flux rope-based magnetohydrodynamic model to predict the arrival time to Earth and magnetic field configuration of the July 12, 2012 coronal mass ejection. (Magnetohydrodynamics refers the magnetic properties and behavior of electrically conducting fluids like plasma, which plays a key role in dynamics of space weather).

    “Fifteen years ago we didn’t know that much about the interstellar medium or solar wind properties,” Pogorelov said. “We have so many observations available today, which allow us to validate our codes and make them much more reliable.”

    4
    Magnetic field line configuration of the coronal mass ejection inserted at the inner boundary R = 0.1 AU, shown with the red sphere. Credit: Talwinder Singh, Tae K. Kim , Nikolai V. Pogorelov , and Charles N. Arge, with permission of the American Geophysical Union.

    Pogorelov is a co-investigator on an on-board component of the Parker Solar Probe called SWEAP (Solar Wind Electrons, Protons, and Alphas instrument).

    With each orbit, the probe approaches the sun, providing new information about the characteristics of the solar wind.

    “Soon it will penetrate beyond the critical sphere where the solar wind becomes superfast magnetosonic, and we’ll have information on the physics of solar wind acceleration and transport that we never had before,” he said.

    As the probe and other new observational tools become available, Pogorelov anticipates a wealth of new data that can inform and drive the development of new models relevant to space weather forecasting. For that reason, alongside his basic research, Pogorelov is developing a software framework that is flexible, useable by different research groups around the world, and can integrate new observational data.

    “No doubt, in years to come, the quality of data from the photosphere and solar corona will be improved dramatically, both because of new data available and new, more sophisticated ways to work with data,” he said. “We’re trying to build software in a way that if a user comes up with better boundary conditions from new science missions, it will be easier for them to integrate that information.”

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


    Stem Education Coalition

    The Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) (US) designs and operates some of the world’s most powerful computing resources. The center’s mission is to enable discoveries that advance science and society through the application of advanced computing technologies.

    TACC DELL EMC Stampede2 supercomputer

     
c
Compose new post
j
Next post/Next comment
k
Previous post/Previous comment
r
Reply
e
Edit
o
Show/Hide comments
t
Go to top
l
Go to login
h
Show/Hide help
shift + esc
Cancel
%d bloggers like this: