A gigantic hole has just formed on the sun

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A gigantic hole just opened up on the sun.

Such coronal holes appear from time to time and are perfectly normal. Even if they look totally scary.

This time it is not just a magnetic canyon. No, it’s a giant hole that opened up in the sun’s corona.

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Atmospheric Imaging Assembly

A massive new “hole in the sun,” or a big patch of black in the corona, was spotted on Monday, July 11, 2016.

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Atmospheric Imaging Assembly

While it looks and sounds worrying, there’s nothing to fear here. These holes – which can take up as much as a quarter of the sun’s surface – appear from time to time lasting for weeks or even months at a time.

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Atmospheric Imaging Assembly

A coronal hole is a place where the sun’s magnetic field opens out into interplanetary space, allowing hot material from the corona to speed outward. As a result, these areas have very little hot plasma compared to their hotter, brighter surroundings. So they appear much darker.

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Atmospheric Imaging Assembly

And now a small movie of this gigantic hole in the solar corona:

While a hole in the sun is nothing to be too alarmed over, it can lead to problems here on Earth: Solar winds released from the corona can form solar storms, which can disrupt satellite and radio communication systems.

Let’s hope the solar winds will produce stunning auroras.

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