During particularly intense solar storms Earth’s magnetosphere can “crack,” allowing charged particles to seep in and wreak havoc on the Earth’s technological infrastructure — an event called space weather. Scientists currently do not have the ability to accurately predict the severity of a space weather event or where it will have the most impact. But a team of researchers led by University of California, San Diego’s Homa Karimabadi is hoping to change that.
This line integral convolution (LIC) visualization of the magnetic field shows the hierarchical development of coherent structures in formation of current sheets and magnetic islands in fully developed turbulence in the solar wind. This level of detail is very difficult, if not impossible, to visualize using standard techniques of showing streamlines. Karimabadi and his colleagues are using LIC to search for development of complex structures.