These are the mysterious nanoflares that heat the corona to several million degrees Why is the temperature in the sun's corona several million degrees higher than at the star's surface? For decades, astronomers have been trying to solve this mystery, but until now it has not been possible. Now that is changing for the better.

All thanks to the IRIS mission. This year, the observatory took the first-ever images of a mysterious phenomenon that astronomers collapsed with nanorods / nanoflares. They are thin and bright light rays that travel in the solar atmosphere perpendicular to the lines of the magnetic structures. Now NASA has published more information on this topic.

Each nanoflare is believed to be initiated by a process known as magnetic reconnection, in which the twisted magnetic fields rapidly align. Unlike other mechanisms that gradually heat up, it can absorb relatively cool plasma and heat it up in no time. "It's like putting two ice cubes together and suddenly their temperature has risen to 1,000 degrees Celsius," said study author Shah Bahauddin of the Research Division of the Atmospheric and Space Physics Laboratory at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

Astronomers have noted that one such process could initiate other reconnections, creating an avalanche of nanorods in the sun's corona. This process may be responsible for producing energy that heats the crown. For the first time, nanodiamonds were observed in 2014, also with IRIS. Then there was the so-called coronal rain, as streams of chilled plasma fell from the corona to the surface of the sun, almost looking like a giant waterfall.

Unfortunately, 6 years ago, no good quality images of nanorods were taken, so astronomers could not continue their research. Now we finally made it. Scientists intend to use the latest space solar observatories in their research, such as: Solar Orbiter and Parker Solar Probe. They want to determine the frequency of nanoflares occurring all over the Sun and the amount of energy generated by them that later heats the solar corona.

Scientists are confident that further study of these phenomena will ultimately help us understand the processes responsible for heating the solar corona. Thanks to this, we will be able to better forecast cosmic weather, which is of great importance not only for the safety of humanity, but also for the implementation of successful missions to the Moon or Mars.

We would like to remind you that Poles also participate in the historic mission of the Solar Orbiter probe. Scientists from the Space Research Center of the Polish Academy of Sciences built, among others an x-ray telescope called STIX. It is one of the six devices working in the radiation range from visible to X-ray. The Polish instrument is the most important because it is responsible for monitoring solar flares, which are the most dangerous for us and space installations.

But it is not everything. The Poles also built an on-board computer, a mechanical housing of a system for precise determination of the position of the Sun, systems for testing electronics, and conducted thermal and integral experiments of these technologies. Solar Orbiter was launched into orbit on February 10 this year. Meanwhile, we should receive the first research results next year.