Massive Coronal Hole in the Sun May Cause Series of Auroras on Earth

Catherine Griffin
First Posted: Oct 17, 2015 09:07 AM EDT
Flickr/Paul Williams

A massive coronal hole in our sun has been captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. Now, this hole is causing some auroral displays on Earth.

A coronal hole is a region where the sun's corona is dark. This hole is associated with "open" magnetic field lines, and are often found at the sun's poles. They're also one source of the high-speed solar wind, which can shoot solar particles toward Earth. Because this hole directly faces toward Earth, our planet is affected by this particular hole when particles interact with our planet's magnetic field.

This hole, in particular, is large enough to fit 50 earths inside of it. In addition, the solar wind that this hole causes can interact with our Earth's magnetic field to cause aurora displays at higher latitudes.

In this case, the hole has created a G1-Minor storm, which has lasted the past three days. In fact, the hole has caused an increase in geomagnetic storming.

The hole is currently moving across the sun's face in the western direction. It's likely that this hole will continue to emit Earth with some level of solar wind for some time.

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