Enormous ‘hole’ in the sun’s atmosphere will trigger stunning auroras Friday

A massive “hole” larger than 20 Earths has opened in the sun’s atmosphere and will soon batter our planet with charged solar particles. Luckily, this sun shower is harmless; the greatest impact will be dazzling auroras pushed to lower latitudes than usual Friday (March 24), according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (opens in new tab) (NOAA) Space Weather Prediction Center. 

NASA astronomers spotted the hole Monday (March 20) when a massive dark patch appeared in the southern stretches of the sun’s outer atmosphere, also called the corona. Known as coronal holes, these features are much cooler than the surrounding atmosphere, making them appear darker. The current hole is wide enough to fit 20 to 30 Earths within it, NASA researchers told Insider (opens in new tab).

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