Sun’s mysterious coronal hole discovered by NASA is growing, may disrupt satellite and radio communications

By @ritwikroy1985 on
Sun Coronal Holes
View of a coronal hole on the sun on June 3, 2012 in this handout image courtesy of NASA. 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. Reuters/NASA/AIA/Solar Dynamics Observatory

A gap in the sun’s magnetic field is allowing heat from the star to escape into space. The mysterious coronal hole on the sun’s surface, discovered by NASA may cause communications chaos on Earth. The chasm could grow million of miles across and it is releasing heat from the star's 5,500 Celsius surface.

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) spacecraft took photos of the growing ominous hole on sun’s surface. Although experts have assured that there is nothing to worry about, coronal holes may disrupt satellite and radio communications due to the solar wind they emit. SDO picked up the growing hole in the sun’s northern hemisphere.

“Coronal holes are low-density regions of the sun’s atmosphere, known as the corona. Because they contain little solar material, they have lower temperatures and thus appear much darker than their surroundings,” NASA wrote on May 26.

Even though coronal holes are fairly common, this one is particularly large and may grow up to a quarter of the sun’s surface. As coronal holes have less energy, gas and lower temperature, they appear darker than the rest of the sun.

Sun’s coronal holes are the source of high-speed wind of solar particles. The sun shoots the particles off at speeds three times faster than solar wind elsewhere. The winds can interfere with Earth’s magnetic field causing geomagnetic storms. These can seriously mess up Earth’s magnetic energy.

Geomagnetic storms may cause superflares that can destroy life on Earth. Superflares can have devastating impacts on electrical grids, communications, GPS and the internet, writes Russia Today.

In June, climate experts have predicted that the Earth may be heading towards a mini Ice Age as the face of the sun had “gone blank.” The chilling warning was based on the analysis of the solar surface that was exhibiting a distinct lack of action.

The lack of sunspot activity spread fears that it would prompt the arrival of a very cold period on Earth like that of the Maunder Minimum, which started in 1645 and continued till about 1715. This period is known as the Little Ice Age.