The Sciences

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 GrantOct 21, 2009 5:00 AM
Image courtesy of Professor Paul Woodward, Laboratory for Computational Science and Engineering, University of Minnesota


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

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.

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

1 free articleSubscribe
Discover Magazine Logo
Want more?

Keep reading for as low as $1.99!


Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

To The Magazine

Save up to 70% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2023 Kalmbach Media Co.