Solar winds are blasting the Earth after a huge hole opened up on the surface of the sun.
Scientists are paying close attention to the sun after a massive hole opened up on its surface that could swallow up 50 Earths at once.
The hole formed in the topmost layer of the sun, ripping through the magnetic field and sending supercharged particles hurtling toward Earth, according to a Space.com report.
Auroras are lighting up the poles right now thanks to these solar winds being ejected in all directions from the sun, which are colliding with the polar regions of Earth’s magnetic field, resulting in spectacular light shows — as well as disruptions to radios and satellites.
Meanwhile, NASA’s orbiting Solar Dynamics Observatory caught some incredible images on Oct. 10 of this hole, which was captured with a special ultraviolet wavelength instrument because the hole is invisible to the human eye, even if we were capable of staring directly at the sun.
This massive hold has opened up a pathway for particles to fly out at speeds of 500 miles per second. The ones that head toward the Earth eventually slam into our atmosphere, resulting in geomagnetic storms that are both harmful to satellites and spectacular to watch if you’re in an area close enough to the poles to see the “Northern Lights.”
It’s nothing to worry about, although it does sound like something from a doomsday movie. Coronal holes are fairly common, and they typically happen near the sun’s poles or at lower latitudes, usually toward the active part of the sun’s 11 year cycle. They happen on the outermost layer of the sun called the corona, and the blasts of particles are called coronal mass ejections.
This particular geomagnetic storm was supposed to be so violent, that National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration experts predicted that people as far south as Pennsylvania would be able to see the Northern Lights. Alas, this was not the case, but it wouldn’t be the first time it had happened.
Meanwhile, the whole is slowly moving west along the sun’s surface, continuing to eject large amounts of particles toward Earth, so the Northern Lights will be shimmering for quite a bit longer.