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Sun and corona, composite image (ESA)

A cosmic alignment and a little bit of spacecraft gymnastics has provided a ground-breaking measurement that is helping solve the 65-year-old cosmic mystery of why the Sun’s atmosphere is so hot.

The Sun’s atmosphere is called the corona. It consists of an electrically charged gas known as plasma and has a temperature of around one million degrees Celsius.

Its temperature is an enduring mystery because the Sun’s surface is only around 6000 degrees. The corona should be cooler than the surface because the Sun’s energy comes from the nuclear furnace in its core, and things naturally get cooler the further away they are from a heat source. Yet the corona is more than 150 times hotter than the surface.

Another method for transferring energy into the plasma must be at work, but what?

Checkk out this article at ESA website to find out!