Picture of the sun with a coronal hole
(the large dark region at the bottom). Credit: NASA
Now the two have made a big leap toward cracking one of the biggest mysteries in astrophysics—why the corona, or plasma surrounding the sun, is so much hotter than the sun's surface.
The coronal heating problem, as it is known, is important because the corona is the source of solar wind, which is responsible for the northern and southern lights and can also disrupt telecommunications and power grids. "Satellites can be slowly pushed out of their orbits if they're deflected by the solar wind so if we can better understand the cause, we can create better models for space weather," says Savin, referring to conditions beyond the atmosphere.
Continue Learning: http://phys.org/news/2013-11-astrophysicists-tackle-sun-physics-biggest.html