On the prevalence of small-scale twist in the solar chromosphere and transition region

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Science  17 Oct 2014:
Vol. 346, Issue 6207, 1255732
DOI: 10.1126/science.1255732

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The solar chromosphere and transition region (TR) form an interface between the Sun’s surface and its hot outer atmosphere. There, most of the nonthermal energy that powers the solar atmosphere is transformed into heat, although the detailed mechanism remains elusive. High-resolution (0.33–arc second) observations with NASA’s Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) reveal a chromosphere and TR that are replete with twist or torsional motions on sub–arc second scales, occurring in active regions, quiet Sun regions, and coronal holes alike. We coordinated observations with the Swedish 1-meter Solar Telescope (SST) to quantify these twisting motions and their association with rapid heating to at least TR temperatures. This view of the interface region provides insight into what heats the low solar atmosphere.

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