A U.S. satellite snapped a picture of what appears to be a “hole” in our sun’s corona.
The “hole” is the product of a lull in solar activity. The sun is at its solar minimum in an 11-year cycle, and as a result, there aren’t any solar flares — but this is not a cause of concern.
“Coronal holes are areas where the sun’s corona appears darker because the plasma has high-speed streams open to interplanetary space, resulting in a cooler and lower-density area as compared to its surroundings,” NASA officials said in a statement.
The “hole” was imaged by a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Solar Ultraviolet Imager (SUVI) satellite on Jan. 29, and likely caused auroras to appear on Earth. SUVI is a telescope that looks at the sun’s ultraviolet emissions and provides updates on space weather.
The sun’s corona is best seen in X-ray or ultraviolet wavelengths due to its very high temperatures
“[Coronal holes] occur where the sun’s magnetic field allows plasma to stream away from the sun at high speed,” NASA said in the press statement. “The effects linked to coronal holes are generally milder than those of coronal mass ejections, but when the outflow of solar particles is intense — [they] can pose risks to satellites in Earth orbit.”
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