The temperature of the sun’s outer atmosphere, the corona, has puzzled scientists for decades. Extending millions of kilometers into space, it is unimaginably hot – more than 1.7 million degrees F (1 million degrees C). The solar surface, on the other hand, is a ‘pleasant’ 9,900 degrees F (5,500 degrees C). The difference defies logic: in most circumstances, material closer to a source of heat is hotter than anything more distant. Scientists have long known some unknown mechanism must be at play. 

Now, a new study has found that the heat released by the recently discovered campfire mini solar flares could be enough to sustain the enormous coronal heating. The research was presented at the European Geosciences Union (EGU) General Assembly on Tuesday, April 27, 2021 and accepted for publication in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.