Using data from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, researchers have confirmed a massive, monstrous hole has opened up in the Sun’s atmosphere, and it’s spewing solar wind directly at Earth.
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The surface of the Sun is constantly going through changes as the massive fireball powering life on Earth’s magnetic field contorts, causing solar flares, coronal mass ejections, and coronal holes. Researchers discovered that a massive hole has opened up in the Sun’s atmosphere starting on December 2, officially called a “coronal hole,” and within 24 hours, it reached its maximum size of an astounding 497,000 miles wide.
Beginning on December 4, the massive coronal hole has been pointing directly at Earth, spewing fast radiation or solar wind in the direction of our planet. When the massive hole was discovered, space weather experts predicted it would cause geomagnetic storms in the Earth’s upper atmosphere, which could potentially trigger radio blackouts and auroras closer to the equator. Initial predictions for the severity of the storm this coronal hole could cause were a moderate G2-level storm.
However, reports indicate that the solar wind spewing out from this coronal hole has been much weaker than initially anticipated, only causing a weak G1-level geomagnetic storm. How long will it be there? Officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said coronal holes have been observed for at least 27 days or one full rotation of the Sun.