If the sun is anything, it is reassuring. It rises, sets, and rises again, allowing us to grow crops, get tan, and power homes, just to name a few of humanity’s most important life-sustaining functions. No wonder it was considered a deity by countless ancient civilizations.
Like many other things, however, our sun is prettier at a distance. Turns out the sun is a violent place where magnetic fields and fusion energy spew plumes of radiation into outer space and at Earth. Physicists call this phenomenon space weather, and seek to understand it by running increasingly complex simulations on increasingly powerful computing systems.