Sprawling Coronal Hole

Image Credit: Solar Dynamics Observatory, NASA

October 16, 2017 – A large coronal hole stands out as the most obvious feature on the sun this week as shown in this image captured by the Solar Dynamics Observatory October 12-13, 2017. The dark structure, shaped kind of like the Pi symbol, spreads across much of the top of the sun.

Though one cannot tell from this image and video clip in false-color extreme ultraviolet light, it is spewing high-speed solar wind particles into space and has been doing this all week. It is likely that these charged particles have been interacting with Earth’s atmosphere and generating many aurora displays in regions near the poles the past several days.

Goddard Space Flight Center built, operates and manages the SDO spacecraft for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, D.C. SDO is the first mission of NASA’s Living with a Star Program.

SDO includes an instrument built in partnership with the University of Colorado at Boulder’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) and another built by Lockheed Martin Solar & Astrophysics Laboratory in Palo Alto, California. Goddard built, operates and manages the SDO spacecraft for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, D.C. SDO is the first mission of NASA’s Living with a Star Program.

SDO was launched on February 11, 2010 aboard a ULA Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.