Image of the Day: Colossal Coronal Hole Blasting Solar Winds Toward Earth


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The image takeny by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, shows a large triangular hole in the Sun's corona on March 13 shows an enormous triangular hole in the Sun’s corona allowing more charged solar particles to stream out into the Solar System, and toward Earth. The holes appear dark in SDO images because they are cooler than the rest of the corona, which is around 1,000,000 C (1,800,000 F). That's hot!

Giant loops of magnetic energy usually keep much of the Sun’s outward flow of gas contained. Coronal holes are regions where the magnetic fields don’t loop back onto the Sun but instead stream outwards, creating channels for solar material –the solar winds–to blow at around 250 miles (400 km) per second. When a coronal hole is present, though, the wind speed can double to nearly 500 miles (800 km) per second causing increased geomagnetic activity. 

Geomagnetic storms may occur once the gustier solar wind reaches Earth, possibly within two to three days.





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