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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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  • So... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lolololol (1991780) on Sunday February 13, 2011 @02:59PM (#35193418)
    Why is there reason to be "concerned"? It is an interesting find, but that solar gas won't do much to harm Earth.
    • Exactly. (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 13, 2011 @03:02PM (#35193456)
      I have a hole, gas comes out, but it doesn't do much to harm Earth.
      • by Nursie (632944)

        I have a hole, gas comes out, but it doesn't do much to harm Earth.

        Well then, I suggest you never go to Malawi [bbc.co.uk] where that sort of behaviour is illegal!

      • by Sulphur (1548251)

        I have a hole, gas comes out, but it doesn't do much to harm Earth.

        Fortunately most of Earth is outdoors.

    • 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.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MBaldelli (808494)

      Why is there reason to be "concerned"? It is an interesting find, but that solar gas won't do much to harm Earth.

      Having done a little scanning of this news from the source of the article, NASA, Space Weather, this is hardly rare and not the sign of an impending stellar apocalypse. From the less credible sources, the concerns that are sort of just below the surface is that the sun's going to lose it's fuel because of these holes in much the same manner as it was originally thought if we were to sent rockets into space would punch holes in the atmosphere of Earth causing all the air to funnel off into space.

      One would h

    • by vux984 (928602)

      Why is there reason to be "concerned"? It is an interesting find, but that solar gas won't do much to harm Earth.

      Your missing the point. Its not that the gas will hit the earth. Its that the sun is like a giant balloon, and now it has a hole in it, that's letting the gas out.

      The the sun will be completely deflated within a year!!

      The sun worshipping mayans knew about this too, its clearly the 2012 apocalypse. I'm mean if you worshipped the sun like a god, why bother marking any dates on the calendar after t

    • Of course its bad!

  • Bad Article (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Stoutlimb (143245) on Sunday February 13, 2011 @03:07PM (#35193494)

    Holes in the sun! Sun losing gas to space! "Probably time is finally taking a toll on the benevolent star, which has been toiling hard for millennia!"

    I wouldn't exactly call this science journalism. No explanation why, what will happen, etc... The only link on the article is labeled "NASA", but points to the main page of this crappy website. To their credit they have a photo of the sun, but is from another solar space mission unrelated to the article.

    Hey editors, how on earth did this awful link get onto the main page?

    • 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: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by anlag (1917070)
        Yes, went to post exactly the same thing. Not to bash the submission as such since it's nice to see people take an interest in my field of work, but surely it's not that much to ask to find the referenced article. Mind you, the space.com piece although better also doesn't go very much in depth of the subject. Then again one of the reasons for that is likely that it simply isn't a very big deal. The Sun is a very dynamic object, always has been and always will be. And that it spills stuff into space is hardl
        • by sznupi (719324)

          The Sun is a very dynamic object ... always will be

          I can't help but wonder, how does "always" exclude the black dwarf stage? ;)

      • by pavera (320634)

        The space.com article still doesn't say why this is a concern, or even indicate that it is a concern.

        Neither article states whether this is a normal phenomena either... I'd imagine the magnetic field of stars fluctuates, but maybe the solar system is about to lose its power source... I guess we'll see later today?

    • by mrmeval (662166)

      Shtiweasel site that steals from others and does so piss poorly and does not supply links to the original article.

      MSNBC the inbred masturbatory union of two megaliths does somewhat better.

      http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/02/10/6025925-satellite-spots-the-suns-latest-leaks [msn.com]

    • by cyn1c77 (928549)

      Hey editors, how on earth did this awful link get onto the main page?

      Time to step it up editors. The quality of the "articles" have been slipping for several months now.

      Personally, I'd rather see three extra minutes spent reviewing the quality of the linked articles than however long it takes to revamp the website every six months.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by syousef (465911)

      "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?

      • by sznupi (719324)
        It's a bad style, we don't have good intuitive grasp on neither of those values - certainly not on millions of something, barely even on "millennia" (with just "one... maybe two or three" being the timespan that we convince ourselves we are grasping - but just look how poor grasp, when looked rigorously, we have on our own timescales, how many myths: merely convincing ourselves that the things we remember are exhaustive (quickly, recollect what were you doing in the last week of November... 1993; also, "tim
  • by MarkRose (820682)

    So if SOHO says Sol has holes, we're SOL?

    • So if SOHO says Sol has holes, we're SOL?

      So you're saying that telecommuters and small business are the problem?

  • by ThunderBird89 (1293256) <zalanmeggyesi&yahoo,com> on Sunday February 13, 2011 @03:12PM (#35193538)

    The way I see it, unless one of those holes were pointed straight at us for an extended time, which is impossible due to difference in the orbital velocity of Earth and the rotational velocity of the Sun, we have nothing to worry about, and even then we'd only get a few blanked-out satellites.

    • by canajin56 (660655)
      The concern is coming from an anonymous International Business Times writer, who linked to the actual NASA release and said "OH NOES", then speculated that maybe the sun is just getting tired from working all the time. That is to say, somebody who knows nothing about the particular field he's "reporting" on is worried, and for no reason whatsoever.
    • While I agree with you that it's extremely unlikely that a flare from either of these would hit us, I disagree with you on how serious it would be if they did. Relatively minor flares knock out satellites. Larger ones could easily cause a major extinction event. We have no scientific data regarding how often flares that larger happen, or how often they hit earth. But it is certainly within the realm of feasibility that one could be a very real problem for us in the future.
  • Don't panic (Score:5, Funny)

    by vmxeo (173325) on Sunday February 13, 2011 @03:12PM (#35193548) Homepage Journal
    Don't freak out that there's now an opening in the corona. Freak out when a celestial lime slice gets wedged it.
    • Don't freak out that there's now an opening in the corona. Freak out when a celestial lime slice gets wedged it.

      I suspect if the sun suddenly gets turned into crappy beer, that is a clear sign I've been living in the wrong solar system all this time ...

    • Good news is, Corona is directly correlated with my ability to get lucky. Enough Corona to fill the sun would surely increase my odds.
  • by phrostie (121428)

    The Sky Is Falling!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    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.

  • Reminds me of an "educational" song I was exposed to when I was five or six:

    The Sun is a mass,

    of incandescent gas,

    a gigantic nuclear furnace.
  • 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.

    • 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.

      Hmm, I kind of figured as much. I wonder if authors are really writing FUD for advertisement clicks. Yikes.

    • by foobsr (693224)
      Incidentally, I was just watching the remake of "The Day the Earth Stood Still" and reading your post makes me think that probably a major 'Carrington Event' would probably do a good (?) lot more than just turning some gear into expensive junk.

      CC.
      • by bhiestand (157373)

        Incidentally, I was just watching the remake of "The Day the Earth Stood Still" and reading your post makes me think that probably a major 'Carrington Event' would probably do a good (?) lot more than just turning some gear into expensive junk.

        It wouldn't burn the Earth or anything like that, but it'd certainly turn a lot of gear into expensive junk.

        Granted, an event large enough to blow out transformers on the ground, as well as other infrastructure, would result in far more than a "little damage", but it wouldn't be an apocalypse.

        NASA has an article on the Carrington Event [nasa.gov] that tries to put it into modern context. This is obviously something we should build our infrastructure to be able to handle (if possible), and I'm sure we will for at leas

    • by prefec2 (875483)

      I am much more concerned about human tendencies to do the wrong things for short term profit. Failing satellites are bad and if all of them fail at once, Internet bandwidth will go down and the weather forecast will become worse. Oh yes and I would have to ask people where to go instead of my navigation tool on my "smart" phone. But these effects are not that disturbing than the news about western governments which do not know what they should do about Egypt or Tunisia (just as an example).

      So before I worry

  • This site have a common profile for readers that should had been taken into account making the title of article. Something like "Sun farted. Oracle got it", or "We are toast, starting by Nokia". Should't be so bad, in other sites could had been "2012 doomsday true, Sun starting to break", "Another proof that global warming is a myth", or "The dangers of loose bullets"
  • So our sun is venting fuel.. Probably didn't like the 15% Ethenol in it.. If the sun sees fit to fertalize space with it - odds are my car won't like it either.
  • by deadhammer (576762) on Sunday February 13, 2011 @04:08PM (#35193924)
    It's the same old thing as yesterday.
  • Looking at the NASA link above, I think they have discovered a "Solar Goatse".
    Now the trick will be getting the other solar systems to look at it...
  • These "holes" maybe let out 1 million atoms per cubic centimeter. That may sound like a lot, but on Earth this would be called a hard vacuum.

    The Sun is also converting 6.2×10**11 kg of matter into energy per second and radiating it all away. One wonders that there is anything left after all of this time.

    • by Nikkos (544004)

      The Sun is also converting 6.2×10**11 kg of matter into energy per second and radiating it all away. One wonders that there is anything left after all of this time.

      Using that number along with the estimated mass of the Earth at 6E+24 kg, it takes the sun 307000 years to burn off one Terra. The estimate for number of Earths that could fit into the sun is 1.3 million (volume, not mass) so it would take 399 Billion years for the sun to burn off an equivalent volume of Earths assuming a similar mass/density.

      I don't think you've anything to worry about. ;)

  • so the wife just asked what i want to do this afternoon.... it would be helpful if someone could clarify if we are all going to die or not?

    because if we are I'm going to be god damned if i'm going to go home depot for supplies to fix things about the house.

  • by novar21 (1694492) on Sunday February 13, 2011 @05:00PM (#35194234)
    It wont even create a good aurora. We need a good M type flare for that. Bummer. The wife really wants to see a good aurora someday. We live to close to the city lights for any good viewing. We would have to drive out into the country. Well since we are approaching solar maximum, we might have to take a drive in the next year or two. Here is the link that describes the events: www.spaceweather.com "BEHEMOTH SUNSPOT 1158: Sunspot 1158 is growing rapidly (48 hour movie) and crackling with C-class solar flares. The active region is now more than 100,000 km wide with at least a dozen Earth-sized dark cores scattered beneath its unstable magnetic canopy. Earth-directed eruptions are likely in the hours ahead." Class M flares are good for viewing. Class X is where we lose electricity or radio/satellites.
  • I wish the article would give some scientific reasons for why we should be concerned about "Two Huge Holes" and not leave it to the masses to make uneducated gesticulations. Does this mean that the sun is dying?
    • Whether it were proven to be dying tomorrow or a couple hundred years from now, we're nowhere close to being able to go anywhere or survive without it.
  • It could not be anyone else's.

  • It sounds like solar warming must be creating holes in its magnetic field!

  • by schwep (173358) on Sunday February 13, 2011 @08:58PM (#35195682)

    After decades of 'free' energy being stolen from the sun, the sun has finally had enough & started a protest. If the 'free' energy theft continues, according to sources close to the sun who wish to remain unnamed, then it will start sending DRM takedown notices to all solar panel owners. The sun's legal team insists that solar power harvesting is breaking the physical encryption it is using & is therefore covered by the DMCA.

    The sun could not be reached for direct comment.

  • Great. There's a hole in the Sun. Now all the helium will leak out and the Sun won't float in the sky anymore.
  • Is this how a piece of the sun shoots out and hits passing federation science ships while its gravity threatens a long lost colony?

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