Scientists from American space agency NASA have spotted a massive black region on the Sun, which is 20 times larger than our Earth, according to a report in Vice News. Called the "coronal hole", it looks like certain potion of our Sun has disappeared.
The appearance of the hole prompted US federal agency NOAA to issue an alert for geomagnetic storms. According to news.com.au, the gaping hole is unleashing solar winds of 2.9 million kmph towards Earth, which will hit our planet on Friday.
The coronal hole was discovered by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) on March 23 near the Sun's South Pole.
These holes allow solar wind (or geomagnetic storms) to escape more readily into the space, which are ranked from G1 to G5 - with the latter being the most powerful.
"The current coronal hole, the big one right now, is about 300,000 to 400,000 kilometres across. That is about 20-30 Earths lined up back-to-back," Alex Young from NASA Goddard's Heliophysics Science Division told Business Insider.
What are coronal holes?
According to NASA, coronal holes appear as dark areas in the solar corona in extreme ultraviolet (EUV) and soft X-ray solar images. They appear dark because they are cooler, less dense regions than the surrounding plasma and are regions of open, unipolar magnetic fields.
These holes can develop at any time and location on the Sun, but are most prevalent and stable at the solar North and South poles.