PerspectiveSolar Physics

How the Sun's Corona Gets Hot

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Science  06 Aug 1999:
Vol. 285, Issue 5429, pp. 849
DOI: 10.1126/science.285.5429.849

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Coronal heating--the creation of extremely high temperatures in the outer atmosphere of the sun--represents a difficult phenomenon for solar physicists to explain. A fleet of satellite observatories--such as Yohkoh, SOHO and TRACE--is now providing a wealth of data that may help resolve the mystery. Nakariakov et al. (page 862) demonstrate how movies made from time series of TRACE images can provide new insights into coronal heating mechanisms. Further satellite missions with new capabilities will allow information on the three-dimensional structure of the solar corona to be obtained.