A hole in the sun is the size of 50 Earths has sparked an “ultrafast” solar wind for several days. New images from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory orbiting system detected the massive gaping sun hole that is invisible to the human eye. Images of the break in the topmost layer of the sun were taken utilizing ultraviolet wavelength technology.
The hole in the sun’s magnetic field has allowed a “stream” of particles to be released. The particles are traveling up to 500 miles per second, MSN reports. The streaming particles are causing solar tornadoes and a days-long geomagnetic storm preparing to hit the Earth.
Sun holes, or coronal holes, typically form over the lower latitudes and poles of the sun. The sun is commonly less active at this stage of its 11-year cycle. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, the sun hit the peak of its cycle in the late summer and early fall months of 2014.
An increase in solar flares is common near the peak of the 11-year cycle. The most recent solar maximum was deemed “noticeably mellow” by scientists. When an increase in solar flares occurred in October last year, researchers at both NASA and NOAA were quick to take note. Multiple M-class and X-class solar flares began occurring about this time in 2014.
Solar flares are strong radiation bursts. Most scientists do not believe that harmful radiation can pass through the Earth’s atmosphere and cause health problems for humans, animals, or the environment. NASA and NOAA researchers have not been able to agree on solar flare predictions for the remainder of current 11-year sun cycle. Space weather scientists only discovered how solar flares were formed during the past 20 years.
The corona, the outermost layer of the sun, is a low density and cooler area. The weakened magnetic field reportedly permits charged particles and plasma to stream more freely in a solar wind or solar tornado space weather system. When aligned with Earth, such a scenario can prompt a geomagnetic storm which can thwart the power grid, radio communications, navigation satellites, and other sensitive electronic equipment.
NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory spots giant hole in the sun pic.twitter.com/8iT3UMitsw
— TIMES NOW (@TimesNow) October 18, 2015
Excerpt from a NASA report about coronal holes.
“Coronal holes are regions where the sun’s corona is dark. These features were discovered when X-ray telescopes were first flown above the Earth’s atmosphere to reveal the structure of the corona across the solar disc. Coronal holes are associated with ‘open’ magnetic field lines and are often found at the sun’s poles. The high-speed solar wind is known to originate in coronal holes.”
Geomagnetic storms also enhance the northern lights – the glowing auroras that form over the northernmost reaches of Earth. Such storms can prompt the auroras to grow far brighter and may even extend the lights a lot further south than is typical. Last week, NOAA predicted the northern lights auroras could be seen as far south as Pennsylvania, Iowa, and Oregon.
The coronal hole is currently continuing on its “slow march” west on the surface of the sun. Solar winds will reportedly stay strong during the movement of the hole in the sun – which could cause more geomagnetic storms.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, the most powerful known Earth-directed solar flare, which occurred during 1859, was the Carrington Event. The most advanced technology of the time, telegraph lines, reportedly burst into flames and even set papers on the operators’ desks on fire.
Should such a powerful solar flare take direct aim at Earth again, life, as we know it in the United States, could be over for a very long time. If the power grid failed, food and medication deliveries would quickly grind to a halt, and cars and emergency generators would stop functioning as soon as the gas in their tanks ran out. A coronal mass ejection could destroy the sensitive electronic components in most vehicles manufactured since the early 1970s. The government does not have a stockpile of the transformers needed to repair the power grid stored in a warehouse somewhere, and the essential components are no longer made in America.
Many experts feel the weakness of the US power grid is the greatest threat the country faces, either from the sun or an EMP burst over the continental United States by an enemy. While a few members of Congress have tried to introduce a bill to protect the power grid, they have been unsuccessful so far.
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