A second giant ‘hole’ forms on the sun with the potential to send 1.8 million-mph solar winds toward Earth


A giant “hole” has appeared on the surface of the sun, and it could send 1.8 million-mph solar winds toward Earth by Friday.

According to Business Insider, It follows the discovery of a coronal hole on the sun 30 times the size of Earth. As this first “hole” begins rotating away from us, a new giant coronal hole — about 18 to 20 Earths across — has come into view.

Coronal holes release solar winds into space, which can damage satellites and reveal stunning auroras if they reach Earth. Scientists aren’t concerned about this hole damaging infrastructure, though they say it may help trigger auroras in some parts of the world. Here’s why.

Coronal holes are fairly common, but they usually appear toward the poles of the sun, where their winds are spewed into space. But as the sun is gearing up to a peak in activity, which happens about every 11 years, these holes are more likely to appear near the equator of the sun, Mathew Owens, a professor of space physics at the University of Reading, said.

“This one being at the equator means we’re pretty much guaranteed to see some fast wind at Earth a couple of days after it rotates past central meridian,” he told Insider. The solar winds can blast very fast solar winds, with speeds of more than 800 kilometers per second, Verscharen said. That’s about 1.8 million mph.

“The shape of this coronal hole is not particularly special. However, its location makes it very interesting,” Daniel Verscharen, an associate professor of space and climate physics at University College London, told Insider. “I would expect some fast wind from that coronal hole to come to Earth around Friday night into Saturday morning of this week,” he said.

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