NASA spotted two massive holes on the surface of the sun, known as coronal holes – one of which covers almost 10 percent of the solar surface.
NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured images of the coronal holes earlier this week. The holes look like dark patches on the surface.
“Coronal holes are lower density and temperature regions of the sun’s outer atmosphere, known as the corona,” NASA explained. “Coronal holes can be a source of fast solar wind of solar particles that envelop the Earth.”
The holes, discovered on March 16, are the second to be spotted this year. A coronal hole was discovered in January, near the south pole of the sun.
Coronal holes are, according to the Daily Mail, “regions of the corona where the magnetic field reaches out into space rather than looping back down onto the surface - and eject solar winds far faster than other parts of the sun.”
The holes can remain visible for five years or more, and their shapes change frequently. Astronauts aboard the Skylab space station first discovered coronal holes in 1973.