A Japanese satellite has captured images showing two huge holes in the Sun which are blasting solar material into space.
Known as “coronal holes” these gaps in the Sun’s magnetic field allow gas to escape into space through the star’s super-hot outer atmosphere where they become the “solar wind”.
Solar winds stream from the holes hitting the earth at an average speed of 400 kilometres per second contributing to auroral displays and in more extreme cases creating solar storms.
But don’t worry, experts say the holes don’t pose a threat to the Earth.
Associate Professor Mike Wheatland from the University of Sydney said effects we see back on Earth are caused more by other solar activity.
“While these are quite beautiful pictures we are unlikely to see any effects from the holes back on Earth,” Mr Wheatland said. Courier Mail.
It’s a fantastic article in the paper and well worth the read. It goes on to explain a solar storm we had in 1859 and what happened. Of course if the same thing happened today as it did in 1859 it would be a very big thing, mainly because of the population now, and naturally there is a lot more electricity around as well. Could you imagine sitting in your lounge room with the TV unplugged and then all of a sudden it started up, all the supernatural movies you ever saw would come rushing back in your mind I’m sure.
You have to laugh at some of the comments in the paper. I did like this one:-
DP Posted at 2:15 PM Today
Holes in the suns atmosphere? How are they going to try blaming THAT on global warming??!!
A POWERFUL solar eruption that has already disturbed radio communications in China could disrupt electrical power grids and satellites used on Earth in the next days, NASA said.
The massive sunspot, which astronomers say is the size of Jupiter, is the strongest solar flare in four years, NASA said yesterday. “X-class flares are the most powerful of all solar events that can trigger radio blackouts and long-lasting radiation storms,” disturbing telecommunications and electric grids, NASA said. Herald Sun.
There is an audio in the article of the solar flare, that was picked up by shortwave recievers, and NASA’s solar observatory on Valentines Day.