Latest Issue of Science News


News

Hotter than the sun

Researchers directly observe Alfvén waves, which keep the corona sizzling

Magnetic waves theorized to transfer heat from the surface of the sun to its atmosphere have been directly observed for the first time, researchers report in the March 20 Science.

Astrophysicists have long puzzled over why the sun’s corona, the outer part of the solar atmosphere, is millions of degrees hotter than the surface of the sun itself. “It’s counterintuitive — when you hold your hands in front of a fire, it’s hottest closest to the flames,” says David Jess, an astrophysicist at Queen’s University Belfast, in Northern Ireland, and a study coauthor.

Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.

X
This article is available only to subscribing members. Join SSP today or Log in.