The $1.27 billion satellite launched as a joint venture between NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) known as the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) has identified an enormous coronal hole covering approximately 25% of the Suns’ surface.
Coronal holes represent areas of the sun which are cooler than the rest of the sun’s surface. They alter the typical magnetic fields which emanate from the sun.
The normal magnetic fields from the sun radiate from the sun and then whip back before being sent off via solar winds. On the coronal holes, the magnetic fields are fired off the surface and do not fold back into the sun’s surface. The end result is the magnetic fields shoot off at a speed 300% of what is normal. The coronal holes are common on the sun and arise and disappear according to the sun’s eleven year cycle from minimal to maximal solar activity.
However, there hasn’t been a coronal hole of the size of this sun observed and scientist believe it will have an impact on space weather due to the faster level of magnetic waves released. The pattern was observed over the six day period of July 13 to July 18.
Coronal Hole Seen Over Sun’s North Pole By SOHO Spacecraft