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The magnetic field intensity of most celestial bodies and regions of the universe are known; they range from 10-9 G in the intergalactic plasma to 1012 G at the surface of neutron stars. The approach most researchers use to understand this dynamo mechanism is to consider a cosmic plasma with a stationary motion, which leads to an induction problem where the goal is to find stationary states as solutions of the induction equation. This kind of equation is easily solved via a computer. By choosing convective velocity fields, we can simulate convection cells, which in turn help us understand the behavior of the photosphere, the chromosphere, the Sun's convective zone, and laboratory plasmas. We can also investigate the not-well-understood phenomena of reconnection in this way. The PCell program helps visualize the magnetic field's evolution in different convective plasmas. We wrote the program in C (part of the program was translated from Fortran to C); it runs on Linux or Unix.
Date of Publication: July-Aug. 2004