An enormous ‘hole’ has occurred in our Sun, says NASA.
The size of the said hole is thought to be over 10% of the surface area of the Sun. What does this mean? Is our Sun disintegrating?!
The picture depicting a huge dark area on the upper half of the Sun was released by NASA recently, and was captured by the Solar Dynamics Observatory of the organisation from May 17 to May 19. This hole is actually known as a coronal hole.
Coronal holes are defined as low-density areas of the corona, which is the atmosphere of the sun. Their darker appearance (colorized purple in the image to illustrate it better) with respect to their surroundings is due to their lower temperature as they contain less solar material than the rest of the star. We can view coronal holes in specific forms of extreme UV (ultraviolet) light.
Why do coronal holes ‘open up’ in the sun? As of now, the answer to this question remains unclear. NASA explains that what is known is that coronal holes are linked with regions of the sun characterised by magnetic fields rising away such that they do not loop back to the surface as is the norm in other regions.
These gigantic ‘holes’ are studied because scientists believe they will assist us in gaining a better understanding of the space surrounding our planet.
But, do we need to worry about it? A ‘hole’ in the sun might sound like something alarming, but according to NASA, it is not of great concern. On the other hand, the coronal holes are thought to have sent out large quantities of solar winds in our direction, but, thankfully, the Earth’s magnetic field is there for a reason: to protect us from such harm.