SCIENCE

There's A Huge 'Hole' In The Sun And This Is What It Looks Like

The coronal hole recently triggered several auroras here on Earth.

Our sun has a hole in it.

That's right. A colossal dark hole was recently spotted on the sun's surface, and it has been spewing solar wind our way. According to NASA, the high-speed wind triggered a light show of several auroras on Earth last week.

A photo of the "coronal hole" (below) was taken by a camera aboard the space agency's Solar Dynamics Observatory on Oct. 10.

The dark area across the top of the sun in this image is a coronal hole. High-speed solar wind originating from the hole crea
The dark area across the top of the sun in this image is a coronal hole. High-speed solar wind originating from the hole created a geomagnetic storm near Earth that resulted in several nights of auroras.

The hole is located on the outermost layer of the sun, called the corona, in the northern hemisphere. It is about the size of 50 Earths and is releasing wind at up to 500 miles per second, Space.com reported.

A geomagnetic storm watch was issued for Wednesday through Friday, as forecasters continued to monitor the solar particle-carrying wind heading our way. 

Coronal holes are often the source of faster-than-normal solar winds since they mark cooler regions on the sun. These regions have a lower density of solar material and weakened magnetic field lines -- factors that make it easier for solar wind to escape.

When solar wind reaches Earth, it can disturb our planet's magnetosphere and cause geomagnetic storms. While such storms create beautiful auroras, or Northern Lights, they can also affect satellite and radio communication systems.

NASA scientists haven't indicated whether the recently spotted hole will stick around for Halloween, but coronal holes are known to last for up to months.

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