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Supercomputer Models Aids Astronomers in Modeling Phenomena

Georgia Institute of Technology scientists are using various National Science Foundation-funded supercomputers for simulations, enabling them to better understand various astronomical phenomena. One of these is known as a tidal disruption, which happens when a star’s orbit moves too close to a black hole, causing it to be sucked into the black hole. The tidal disruption causes a bright flare that changes over time. Modeling the dynamics of various forces involved should help scientists better understand tidal disruptions as well as interactions occurring between stars and black holes. With computer simulations, they are able to look at sequences of events from various perspectives, repeating the process if needed. The researchers are using computing resources at the Texas Advanced Computing Center and the National Institute for Computational Sciences as well as at their home institution. Their work is already at the point where improved models are needed as the current research is reportedly outpacing the scientists’ current theoretical understanding of tidal disruptions and ensuring that such modeling will continue to inform their knowledge of these types of phenomena. (SlashDot)(National Science Foundation)

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