NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory in orbit around the sun, photographed a spectacular hole on the sun which is over 50 times the diameter of Earth, at its widest point.
“The dark area across the top of the sun in this image is a coronal hole, a region on the sun where the magnetic field is open to interplanetary space, sending coronal material speeding out in what is called a high-speed solar wind stream,” NASA revealed on its website.
As foreboding as it sounds, it is not an intergalactic emergency. According to NASA, coronal holes aren’t an alien phenomenon and are simply, “regions where the sun’s corona is dark. These features were discovered when X-ray telescopes were first flown above the Earth’s atmosphere to reveal the structure of the corona across the solar disc.”
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They are associated with with ‘open’ magnetic field lines and are often found at the sun’s poles. These open magnetic field lines, instead of keeping hot gas together, cause a coronal hole to form, where solar wind can be emitted at high speeds.
The gap in the sun’s magnetic “created a geomagnetic storm near Earth that resulted in several nights of aurora,” earlier in the month, NASA revealed.
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Recently, NASA also revealed that liquid water had been found on the planet Mars, which created a frenzy across social media. “Mars is not the dry, arid planet we thought of in the past,” Jim Green, NASA’s planetary science director confirmed, saying that “Under certain circumstances, liquid water has been found on Mars.”
Scientists did not have proof, however, that these streaks — which would form in spring, grow by summer and then disappear by fall — were actually water.
But after careful study and analysis, they are ready to say that these streaks are, in fact, water.
Many took to Twitter after NASA revealed the news:
What’s causing the 50 Earth sized hole in the sun? @Nasa gives an update.
— SPACE.com (@SPACEdotcom) October 16, 2015
Massive Coronal Hole the size of 50 Earths opened on the Sun http://t.co/97NDkoKBXy pic.twitter.com/NlUeGhNVmp
— TechnoBuffalo (@TechnoBuffalo) October 17, 2015
Giant ‘Hole’ in Sun Is 50 Earths Wide #SPACE http://t.co/VvGjBr2O7B
— ✨The Solar System✨ (@The_SolarSystem) October 18, 2015
#Space: a huge #coronal hole has just appeared on the #Sun
https://t.co/OuVACFgU7j via @NASA pic.twitter.com/5efoBp94Or
— Maxime Duprez (@maximaxoo) October 18, 2015
What happens when a giant hole opens on the sun? http://t.co/NYznIUNcQv via @Appy_Geek #ScienceMysteries #NASA
— Maulik Thakkar (@EvamMaulik) October 19, 2015