Hansteen, V., De Pontieu, B., Carlsson, M., Lemen, J., Title, A., Boerner, P., Hurlburt, N., Tarbell, T. D., Wuelser, J. P., Pereira, T. M. D., De Luca, E. E., Golub, L., McKillop, S., Reeves, Katharine K., Saar, S., Testa, P., Tian, H., Kankelborg, C., Jaeggli, S., Kleint, L., and Martínez-Sykora, J. 2014. "The unresolved fine structure resolved: IRIS observations of the solar transition region." Science 346:1255757. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1255757
The heating of the outer solar atmospheric layers, i.e., the transition region and corona, to high temperatures is a long-standing problem in solar (and stellar) physics. Solutions have been hampered by an incomplete understanding of the magnetically controlled structure of these regions. The high spatial and temporal resolution observations with the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) at the solar limb reveal a plethora of short, low-lying loops or loop segments at transition-region temperatures that vary rapidly, on the time scales of minutes. We argue that the existence of these loops solves a long-standing observational mystery. At the same time, based on comparison with numerical models, this detection sheds light on a critical piece of the coronal heating puzzle.