Oh NO! A Square Hole in the Sun?

By Tom Yulsman | May 14, 2014 8:48 pm

Okay. Relax. This. Is. Completely. Normal. Even if a bit strange.

The Sun developed a square hole in its corona — it’s extended outer atmosphere — starting around May 4. The video above, based on data from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft, shows its evolution over the course of two days.

In case you were wondering, you’re looking at the Sun in the extreme ultraviolet portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, which reveals these holes-in-the-sun quite effectively.

Coronal holes can occur in areas where the Sun’s magnetic field is open to space. This allows particles to escape. We’re talking more than a boatload of particles. The word “gargantuan” doesn’t even suffice.

They escape in the form of high-speed solar winds blowing out into space. When they head our way, they can cause geomagnetic storms — disturbances to the Earth’s magnetosphere.

These can be bad. Sometimes very, very bad.

If strong enough, a geomagnetic storm can damage satellites and power grids, and cause significant disruption to radio communications.

But not to worry. This squareish coronal hole was so far south on the Sun that there was very little chance that the solar wind streaming out from it would hit us.

It sure is cool though.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: select, Solar System, Stars, Sun, Top Posts
  • RaePooletik321

    just as
    Albert answered I am dazzled that you able to get paid $5004 in four weeks on
    the internet . read here F­i­s­c­a­l­p­o­s­t­.­C­O­M­

  • Leslie Davis

    All it is .. Is just a… Nother Brick in the Wall…. LOL

  • Rufus Warren

    Does this mean the viewing angle has something to do with the particles observed, so it would also affect the EM fields? Is this effect defined for the spectrum of these events? Well, I guess you would need initial polarization, energy distribution as a function of the surface, etc.. But not out of the question? In other words, why is it dark and why is it rectangular?

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ImaGeo

ImaGeo is a visual blog focusing on the intersection of imagery, imagination and Earth. It focuses on spectacular visuals related to the science of our planet, with an emphasis (although not an exclusive one) on the unfolding Anthropocene Epoch.

About Tom Yulsman

Tom Yulsman is Director of the Center for Environmental Journalism and a Professor of Journalism at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He also continues to work as a science and environmental journalist with more than 30 years of experience producing content for major publications. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Audubon, Climate Central, Columbia Journalism Review, Discover, Nieman Reports, and many other publications. He has held a variety of editorial positions over the years, including a stint as editor-in-chief of Earth magazine. Yulsman has written one book: Origins: the Quest for Our Cosmic Roots, published by the Institute of Physics in 2003.

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