The sun is hot. It’s literally blazing hot. Nothing surprising there. Yet, one solar feature, the corona, is much hotter than it should be. For seven decades, physicists have been trying to understand this ‘coronal heating problem’. Thanks to work by Michael Hahn and Daniel Savin from Columbia University, we may have finally cracked it.
There are still mysteries to be solved, including why these waves (known as Alfvén waves) dissipate at such low heights. Hahn and Savin plan to work on that next.Michael Hahn, & Daniel Savin (2013). Observational Quantification of the Energy Dissipated by Alfvén Waves in a Polar Coronal Hole: Evidence that Waves Drive the Fast Solar Wind The Astrophysical Journal. DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/776/2/78.