Colloquium

Evidence for Wave Heating in the Solar Corona

One of the major problems in astrophysics is to understand how the solar corona is heated to over a million degrees. There is general agreement that the energy source is convective motion in and below the photosphere. It remains to determine how this mechanical energy is transported outward into the corona and then deposited as heat. Two classes of models have been proposed, namely those that rely on magnetic reconnection and those that rely on waves, particularly Alfven waves. There is increasing evidence that waves are ubiquitous in the corona. However, a difficulty for wave driven models has been that most theories predict Alfven waves to be undamped in the corona, and therefore they cannot dissipate their energy into heat. Our research has shown unambiguous observational evidence that the waves do damp at sufficiently low heights in the corona to be important for coronal heating. In this talk I will discuss the coronal heating problem and possible solutions, present our results, and discuss some of the implications for this work.

Followed by wine and cheese in Pupin 1402.

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