• Reading Level 5

Science Journalist of the Year: Aged 10 and under winner

Beeline Reader (learn more) uses subtle colour gradients to help you read more quickly and efficiently.

Massive Hole on the Sun’s Surface – How does this affect our planet?

Kenza, UK

Have you ever pondered about the mysteries of the Sun?  Or why we need to study the Sun’s activities? 

A new phenomenon has left scientists stunned.  NASA have detected a coronal hole on the Sun’s surface that can disrupt radio transmissions and cause damage to satellites and electrical transmission line facilities, resulting in massive and long-lasting power outages. 

With the coronal hole being approximately 20 times larger than Earth, this has prompted US federal agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to send out a high alert as geomagnetic storms are unleashing 1.8 million mile-per-hour solar winds towards Earth, predicted to hit us on 25th March at a G1 level.

Coronal holes appear as dark areas in the outermost part of the Sun’s atmosphere (solar corona), as Extrema Ultra-Violet (EUV) and soft x-ray solar images. The open configuration of the magnetic field in coronal holes allows particles to escape, and it is found that these holes are sources of high-speed solar wind streams.

“Events like these are of great interest to us scientifically to further understand our Sun’s 11-year solar cycle, but are also important for us to evaluate how these winds might affect technology in orbit, like GPS (Global Positioning System)” said Machine Learning researcher at Swinburne University of Technology, Dr. Sara Webb.

The coronal hole produced auroras far further south than usual, with the skies in Arizona turning an electric purple and green, but why? 

A coronal hole will cause solar wind to travel faster and carry a higher density of particles, therefore bringing more to the Earth’s magnetosphere.  A higher density of these particles creates the bigger aurora storms that we all love to hunt.  This leads to rare occurrences of the auroras as south as New York and Idaho.

With this information, scientists hope to develop our understanding of coronal holes and possibly share their knowledge with future generations to protect our home.

Only time will tell what other mysteries we can learn from the Sun. 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email