Understanding coronal heating and solar wind acceleration: Case for in situ near-Sun measurements

D. J. McComas, M. Velli, W. S. Lewis, L. W. Acton, M. Balat-Pichelin, V. Bothmer, Jr B. Dirling, W. C. Feldman, G. Gloeckler, S. R. Habbal, D. M. Hassler, I. Mann, W. H. Matthaeus, Jr L. McNutt, R. A. Mewaldt, N. Murphy, L. Ofman, Jr C. Sittler, C. W. Smith, T. H. Zurbuchen

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86 Scopus citations


The solar wind has been measured directly from 0.3 AU outward, and the Sun's atmosphere has been imaged from the photosphere out through the corona. These observations have significantly advanced our understanding of the influence of the Sun's varying magnetic field on the structure and dynamics of the corona and the solar wind. However, how the corona is heated and accelerated to produce the solar wind remains a mystery. Answering these fundamental questions requires in situ observations near the Sun, from a few solar radii (RS) out to ∼20 RS, where the internal, magnetic, and turbulent energy in the coronal plasma is channeled into the bulk energy of the supersonic solar wind. A mission to make such observations has long been a top priority of the solar and space physics community. The recent Solar Probe study has proven that such a mission is technically feasible and can be accomplished within reasonable resources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberRG1004
JournalReviews of Geophysics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2007
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics


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