It might look like something out of the apocalypse, but fear not. It’s not the end of world. Nevertheless, this solar phenomenon you’re looking at can cause some effects on our planet. This video of the Sun was taken by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory on July 11. It was uploaded to YouTube by science journalist Tom Yulsman at Discover Magazine, who pointed out the strange “black hole” in the Sun.
This phenomenon is known as a coronal hole. As NASA explains, “these holes are rooted in large cells of unipolar magnetic fields on the Sun’s surface; their field lines extend far out into the Solar System.” Essentially, the Sun’s magnetic field opens up and causes a torrent of solar wind to fire out from the corona, leaving a hole that appears darker than its fiery surroundings. This event can last for weeks and even months at a time.
As for Earth, coronal holes can be a source of geomagnetic storms. Although Earth’s magnetosphere can protect us from much of this geomagnetic activity, they do have the potential to create more aurora activity. So while it might not be strong enough to cause any real drama, it sure is hypnotizing to watch.