In a special section of the journal Science, researchers this week present new findings about the mechanisms that heat the solar corona. One of the articles in Science uses data from the Swedish 1-m Solar Telescope (SST) to show that the solar chromosphere - the atmospheric layer between the solar surface and the much hotter corona - is full of twisting motions. These motions are a sign of magnetic waves. Data with NASA s Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) show that these motions strongly contribute to the heating the solar plasma from 10,000 degrees to at least 1 million degrees.

The SST was earlier used to discover small-scale magnetic tornadoes in the solar chromosphere and has greatly contributed to our understanding of the dynamic and magnetic solar atmosphere during the last 12 years. Thanks to its instrumentation and high optical quality, the SST remains the world leading ground-based solar telescope.

Dr. Jorrit Leenaarts from the Institute for Solar Physics collaborates with the IRIS team on understanding the heating of the outer solar atmosphere, and provided a theoretical foundation for understanding the images taken by IRIS.

Dr. Jorrit Leenaarts 
Prof. Göran Scharmer 
Dr. Bart de Pontieu