Coronal Heating

Coronal heating presents a problem for astrophysicists. The “coronal heating problem” refers to the puzzling fact that the Sun’s corona is much hotter than the lower layers of the Sun, which lie closer to its energy-producing core. It would be shocking to find that as you moved away from a campfire the air became many times hotter than the fire itself, but this is similar to what happens in the case of the Sun. Over the last six decades, hundreds of theoretical models to explain the corona’s high temperature have been proposed. There is still no obvious solution in sight, partly because many difficulties arise in trying to understand why the corona is so hot.

The adaptation we present here is of a paper that considers the evidence for a series of proposed solutions to the coronal heating problem. The paper offers arguments for why several of these solutions must be rejected and indeed argues that the term ‘coronal heating’ is a misnomer, because the heating does not take place in the corona. The paper demonstrates a genuinely controversial issue in astrophysics (at the time the original article was published) and illustrates how scientists go about trying to resolve controversy.

The adaptation was completed by Adrienne Parent while she was a doctoral student in space physics at the University of Alberta.

To access the original article, please click here.

To view Adrienne Parent's adaptation, please click here.