Science: Light on the Sun

Meeting at Harvard Observatory, a small group of leading U.S. astronomers agreed last week that a Swedish physicist, Bengt Edlen, had just thrown a good deal of light on the sun. It concerned the nature of the sun's corona—its turbulent halo of incandescent gases.

Great tongues of flame leap from the sun, a half-million miles into space, sink back and leap again. Sometimes, strangely, clouds of gases appear out of nowhere far above the sun and blazing streamers lick back toward the sun's surface like prankish backward-movies of a high diver. What elements, astronomers...