‘Smiling’Sun Could Signal Coming Solar Storm

  • NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) this week captured an image of the sun in ultraviolet light featuring three dark patches that look like a smiling face — a face that could signal a solar storm with problems for Earth.
  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Prediction Center issued a minor geomagnetic storm watch effective for Saturday. While geomagnetic storms can create beautiful aurora in the sky, they can also disrupt GPS and create harmful currents in the power grid and pipelines.
  • The dark patches, known as coronal holes, are regions where solar wind escapes more quickly and readily into space, making these regions cooler. These winds can clock up to 1.8 million miles per hour, according to Exploratorium, a museum in San Francisco.
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