Recent images shared by NASA show that the sun’s coronal hole is stunning and harmless, so it should not spark worries among those on Earth.
- Coronal holes (or dark spots) are common across the sun’s poles and lower latitudes near the end of its 11-year cycle
- The dark spot snapped is reportedly 50 times the size of our planet
- They will cause geomagnetic storms that might mildly disrupt radio and satellite signals
- The geomagnetic storms will also enhance the sight of auroras
The Solar Dynamics Observatory revealed the sun’s current state in October. It displayed the beautifully lighted star, with a particularly dark spot across its surface. The coronal hole is not uncommon for this moment in the sun’s activity. In fact, they occur across its poles and lower latitudes when it is at its lowest point of the 11 year cycle.
Which, according to some studies, is right about now.
The picture of the coronal hole was snapped on October 10th at an ultraviolet wavelength, which means that it would be otherwise invisible to the human eye. This is in spite of the fact that it’s reportedly 50 times the size of Earth. To any observer, it would pass by unobserved, though it’s dangerous to stare at the sun in the first place, so perhaps that’s good news.
The darkened spot among the bright surface of the sun is much cooler and presents itself with lower density by retaining less solar material. These dimly lit areas release high-speed solar wind that is virtually harmless to the inhabitants of our planet. However, their effect is not entirely non-existent.
The coronal hole essentially releases streams of particles that can travel up to speeds of 500 miles per second away from the sun. They can cause geomagnetic storms upon hitting Earth, something which some call Halloween Solar Storm. It can affect certain satellite systems and high altitude radio signals.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), the coronal hole will continue its westward path along the surface of the sun, and the solar winds will remain strong. While the slight disruptions will continue, the geomagnetic storms will also produce a brighter sight of auroras across our darkened sky.
The luminous and striking displays that are often seen on northern skies will be much brighter, and reportedly will spread further down south due to the solar activity. According to NOAA, regions such as Pennsylvania, Iowa and Oregon might be getting an excellent view of the brightly colored lights.
Naturally, they will continue and be much more prominent around the Arctic Circle.
Due to the decreased magnetic field around the coronal hole, there will also be more solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs).
However, astronomers continue to assure that while the view of the sun looks rather terrifying in the image, it’s virtual harmless. We will only be experiencing minor geomagnetic storms in consequence that will cause minimal disruptions, and result in little else but the stunning picture.
Image source: patriotnetdaily.com