Gigantic Coronal Hole Spotted At Sun's North Pole

Wednesday, 31 July 2013 - 10:19AM
Sun
Astronomy
Wednesday, 31 July 2013 - 10:19AM
Gigantic Coronal Hole Spotted At Sun's North Pole

Either someone just turned the lights off at the north pole of the Sun, or that is one HUGE coronal hole that the ESA/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) just spotted. Of course it is indeed a coronal hole and, indeed, it really is huge covering around a quarter of the sun's visible disk. 

 

Coronal holes are dark regions of the sun's outer atmosphere, the corona and they represent areas of the sun that are low in density and subsequently, lower in temperature. These holes are perfectly normal and the pop up more frequently at different points of the solar cycle, with the solar maximum seeing the highest number of these phenomena. However, scientists are still unsure as to the exact reason for coronal holes occur.

 

While not posing a threat to us down here on Earth, the impact of a coronal hole, especially one as large as this, can be seen. Their product of high speed solar winds, containing highly charged material can impact some of the aurora we see in certain areas of Earth. 

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