Scientists Discover Answer to Why Sun’s Crown is So Hot in Cup of Coffee

The spacecraft and its “gymnastic” tricks made it possible to conduct a unique dimension that can help to unravel a long-standing space question: why is the atmosphere of the Sun so hot.

The atmosphere of the Sun, known as the crown, consists of charged gas – plasma, and its temperature reaches about a million degrees Celsius. This fact remains a mystery, given that the surface of the Sun has a temperature of only about 6,000 degrees.

Logically, the crown should be cooler, but it is 150 times hotter than its surface. Perhaps a different method of energy transfer in plasma works here?

For a long time, it was believed that turbulence in the solar atmosphere could cause plasma heating in the crown. However, to study this phenomenon, scientists needed two spacecraft. These were SOLAR Orbiter, controlled by the European Space Agency, and the Parker Solar Probe from NASA.

Daniele Teleloni, a researcher from the Italian National Institute of Astrophysics, found out that on June 1, 2022, both devices would be in the right configuration. Having done some maneuvers, it became possible to see Parker Solar Probe in the view of one of the Solar Orbiter devices.

Daniele and his team were able to conduct the first in the world simultaneous assessment of a large-scale configuration of the sunny crown and microphysical Plasma properties. These data confirmed the guesses of scientists about the role of turbulence in the transfer of energy.

The method of energy transmission through turbulence is similar to the process that occurs when the morning coffee is mixed. Energy switches to a smaller scale, turning into heat. In the crown of the Sun, where plasma is magnetized, magnetic energy is also available for transformation into heat.

A lot of work is to do to finally solve the problem of heating the sunny crown, but now scientists have the first dimension of this process. “This is a scientific premiere. This work is a significant step forward in solving the problem of heating the crown,” says Daniel Müller, a project supervisor.

/Reports, release notes, official announcements.