Even if you believe sunlight virtually has only one weather pattern – chaotic and blistering having a possibility of radiation poisoning – it may really be very diverse. Among the lesser-recognized climate phenomena about the sun’s surface are coronal holes, such as the huge one which was recently taken by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) and featured this week in a brief video from the space agency.
Coronal holes are low-density regions of the sun’s atmosphere, known as the corona. Because they contain little solar material, they have lower temperatures and thus appear much darker than their surroundings. Coronal holes are visible in certain types of extreme ultraviolet light, which is typically invisible to our eyes, but is colorized here in purple for easy viewing. The holes are also visible in x-ray wavelengths,” says NASA.
Even though it is unclear what can cause the coronal holes to look on the sun, it’s recognized the areas would be the supply of an excellent-quick solar wind that may be as much as 3 times faster than solar winds from other areas of the sun. The wind is just a flow of plasma comprising charged particles that limbs sunlight off. While this type of flow contacts Our Planet’s magnetosphere, it may trigger storms that result in enjoyable outcomes such as the aurora borealis, like disrupting communications and power supplies or even more harmful outcomes.
During solar minimums – approximately 11-year-long periods during which the sun is relatively quiet – coronal holes appear near the solar poles, as this one does. That makes sense because this video was created from images taken by the SDO in early May, and we are currently on the downslope from a solar maximum that peaked in 2013, and was itself relatively weak.
The SDO was launched in 2010 and includes a number of devices specifically made to see sunlight. Because being put in orbit around Planet it’s been returning some fairly incredible pictures.
This movie displaying the hole increases the remarkable eye candy the SDO continues to be sending back of our nearest and dearest star for much of the decade.