A Contemporary View of Coronal Heating

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147 Citations (Scopus)


Determining the heating mechanism (or mechanisms) that causes the outer atmosphere of the Sun, and many other stars, to reach temperatures orders of magnitude higher than their surface temperatures has long been a key problem. For decades the problem has been known as the coronal heating problem, but it is now clear that `coronal heating' cannot be treated or explained in isolation and that the heating of the whole solar atmosphere must be studied as a highly coupled system. The magnetic field of the star is known to play a key role, but, despite significant advancements in solar telescopes, computing power and much greater understanding of theoretical mechanisms, the question of which mechanism or mechanisms are the dominant supplier of energy to the chromosphere and corona is still open. Following substantial recent progress, we consider the most likely contenders and discuss the key factors that have made, and still make, determining the actual (coronal) heating mechanism (or mechanisms) so difficult.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3217-3240
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. A, Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Volume 370
Issue number1970
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012


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