It's hot out there

 
Published: Wednesday 31 December 1997

Researchers may soon be able to solve the mystery of why the outermost regions of the Sun are so hot. The visible surface of the Sun has a temperature of nearly 6000C. However, its corona that is far from the core, has a temperature of several million degrees. The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory satellite of NASA has shown that magnetic loops coming out from the solar surface send enough energy into the corona. Alan Title of the Standford-Lockheed Institute for Space Research, California, USA, says that each loop carries an energy equivalent to that generated by a large hydroelectric plant in a million years ( New Scientist , Vol 156, No 2108).

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