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Earth Space

Two Huge Holes In the Sun Spotted 204

Posted by timothy
from the need-that-like-a-hole-the-sun dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Japanese scientists have spotted two huge holes on the sun's magnetic field, and it appears there is some reason to be concerned about. The holes, called coronal holes, are gateways for solar material and gas to spill out into space, according to space.com. The gaps in the sun's magnetic field make a hole through its atmosphere, letting gas out, NASA has said."
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Two Huge Holes In the Sun Spotted

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  • NASA link (Score:5, Informative)

    by sustik (90111) on Sunday February 13, 2011 @02:59PM (#35193412)
  • Re:Bad Article (Score:5, Informative)

    by Stoutlimb (143245) on Sunday February 13, 2011 @03:10PM (#35193522)

    Just an after thought... The article DID mention that this was reported on space.com, but they didn't provide a link. Here it is:

    http://www.space.com/10825-sun-holes-space-photo-hinode.html [space.com]

    I had a look, it's way better. Maybe this should have been the link provided in the submission.

  • Re:So... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 13, 2011 @03:18PM (#35193578)

    Well, I've been a ham radio operator for a long time, and have seen this sort of thing occasionally.

    No, it won't directly harm us, but it could wreak havoc on the radio spectrum.

    Depending on what exactly happens, we hams may see some terrific "skip" conditions on the shortwave
    bands, or we may experience a near-complete wipe-out where nothing gets through, let alone bouncing
    off a layer in the upper atmosphere. It may also disrupt some satellite links depending on the position of
    the various satellites relative to the wave of incoming particles/stuff and which way the satellites are aimed
    towards their ground stations.

    Folks in higher latitudes may be treated to an incredible display of "Northern Lights" or "Southern Lights" as appropriate.
    Considering we're just now coming out of a minimum in the 11 year sunspot cycle, this is indeed an interesting event.

  • by Stevecrox (962208) on Sunday February 13, 2011 @03:24PM (#35193620) Journal
    I really hate this urban legend, read the wikipedia article on the Mayan Calender. [wikipedia.org]

    Basically they had the Tzolk'in which provided a 260 day year (13 months of 20 days) which was used to plan ceremonies and events. Because that doesn't match up with the length of the year they developed the Haab which lasts 365 days this provided 18 months consisting of 20 days, with 5 "nameless" days.

    However neither of these calenders providing a way of keeping track of the year, so the mayans worked out the year by using the Tzolk'in and Haab calenders, since those dates reset every 52 years the Mayans called that a Calender Round.

    The Long Count was created so dates which occurred outside of the 52 year cycle could be stated, the end of the world myth exists because 1 Bakturn consists of 144,000 days. On December 21st 2012 this bakturn cycle ends, that doesn't mean the world will end to the Mayans the end of such a cycle is a time of celebration.

    In short the Mayan calender system is a giant overly complicated mess.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 13, 2011 @03:35PM (#35193712)

    Extremely badly written article. The coronal holes over the south and north pole of the sun have basically always been there, and been predicted by solar wind models for at least 50 years. The news here is simply that the hinode spacecraft managed to image them conclusively for the first time.

    No reason to be concerned. Trust me, I'm a solar scientist.

  • by Platinum Dragon (34829) on Sunday February 13, 2011 @03:46PM (#35193800) Journal

    Visit spaceweather.com daily for a month or two, and keep an eye on the various Sun images on the left side. One is used to point out coronal holes, and you'll quickly realize how common they are. This may be related to the approaching solar maximum, though don't quote me on that.

    I'm much more concerned about flare and mass ejection frequency. With all the satellites and poorly-shielded electrical circuits we rely upon, one or two wicked ejections aimed at Earth could turn a lot of gear into expensive junk.

  • Re:Bad Article (Score:4, Informative)

    by Stoutlimb (143245) on Sunday February 13, 2011 @04:43PM (#35194148)

    Oh I totally agree, I just thought it was nice to post a link to the article they were reporting on, seeing that neither they nor the submitter bothered to do so.

    In a nutshell, coronal holes are a large source of Solar Wind https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Solar_wind [wikimedia.org]

  • Re:Exactly. (Score:4, Informative)

    by riverat1 (1048260) on Sunday February 13, 2011 @05:32PM (#35194458)

    Clouds develop when water vapor condenses in the atmosphere forming water droplets around condensation nuclei. But regarding their greenhouse effects clouds and water vapor are two different things with different absorption/reflection characteristics for radiant energy.

    Answering the GP, during daylight clouds can reflect sunlight back into space providing a cooling effect but the albedo depends on things like the size of the cloud droplets, the density of the cloud, the angle of the light hitting it and probably a few other things. At night though they reflect radiant energy back toward the surface or absorb it providing a warming effect. And around the world near the day/night separation line the sunlight can actually be reflected from the bottom of the clouds down to the Earth. Overall the effects of clouds on global warming appears to be slightly positive.

  • Re:Bad Article (Score:3, Informative)

    by syousef (465911) on Sunday February 13, 2011 @10:18PM (#35196098) Journal

    "Probably time is finally taking a toll on the benevolent star, which has been toiling hard for millennia!"

    4.6 BILLION YEARS is 4.6 million millennia. Good work sounding completely foolish guys.

    The only thing more foolish is an article on a nerd site pointing to it. Next up: Top 10 songs of the week announced, and Pink says something like really like totally cool. News for bimbos? Stuff that's drivel?

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