A Hole In The Sun

Hole In The Sun

Astronomers recently captured some photos of the Sun that make it appear as if there’s a hole on the surface of the Sun:

Coronal holes are areas on the sun’s corona that are darker, lower-density, and (relatively) colder than the rest of the plasma on the surface of our nearest star. They’re the source of the kind of solar wind gusts that carry solar particles out to our magnetosphere and beyond, causing auroras (and, less awesomely,geomagnetic storms) here on Earth.

When coronal holes are captured in extreme ultraviolet light images, they reveal themselves as dark spots that appear, to human eyes, to be plasma voids.

Well, last week — between May 28 and 31 – one of those coronal holes rotated toward Earth. It was a big one: “one of the largest,” NASA says, “we have seen in a year or more.” And the Solar Dynamics Observatory’s Atmospheric Imaging Assembly, fortunately, got a shot of the thing. Above, via a combination of three wavelengths of UV light, is an image of the hole. It’s pretty gorgeous, as holes go.

Pretty fascinating what’s going on that the naked eye can’t see.

FILED UNDER: Science & Technology, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. John Peabody says:

    “A Hole in the Sun” – sounds like a 70s album release.

  2. Rafer Janders says:

    There’s a big black spot on the sun today….

  3. David D. from Philly says:

    Off topic, but why don’t images from OTB posts show up in my feed reader? All I can ever see is a box with the name of the image – in this case. Hole In The Sun.jpg. This happens with all images and isn’t something I run into on a lot of sites.

  4. Franklin says:

    Continuing the music theme, “Black Hole Sun” anybody?

  5. Pretty fascinating what’s going on that the naked eye can’t see.

    From an evolutionary standpoint, the ability to see holes in the sun’s corona provides very limited benefits in terms of increasing one’s chances of survival, so it’s not suprising that our optical system isn’t sensitive to that portion of the spectrum.

  6. Neil Hudelson says:

    I read it as “ahole sun.”

    Thought maybe the sun had done something to you to really make you mad.

  7. John Burgess says:

    What sun? We’ve been under 100% cloud cover for days. Clearly the sun has gone away.

  8. gVOR08 says:

    I’m waiting to see how the GOPs will blame this on Obama.

  9. Anderson says:

    McCain: we must invade the Sun!

    Issa: Tea Party groups received measurably less sunlight, AND the President was seen outside on a sunny day: coincidence, or conspiracy?

    Graham: the Sun must be declared an enemy combatant.

    D’Souza: Obama’s Kenyan colonialist roots have led him to turn the Sun black in hatred of whites.

    Pat Robertson: God is turning the Sun black to punish us for electing Obama, precisely as predicted in Revelation.

    Phil Bryant: working moms are causing the Sun to stop revolving around the Earth!