The MMS spacecraft measuring the solar wind plasma in the interaction region with the Earth's magnetic field. Image: NASA
Mechanism of solar wind heating discovered - space short science news

Scientists have shown that a process known as Landau damping is responsible for transferring energy from the electromagnetic plasma turbulence in space to electrons in the solar wind (stream of charged particles, i.e. plasma). This energizes the electrons and produces heat.

This phenomenon was discovered with high-resolution measurements from NASA’s Magnetospheric Multi-Scale spacecraft, launched in 2015, together with a newly developed data analysis technique.

Landau damping could explain why the solar corona is hundreds of times hotter than the surface of the Sun.

Read the full story: Queen Mary University of London
Scientific publication: Nature Communications