That big black thing is a coronal hole, a large “opening” in the sun’s corona where particles from the sun can stream freely out into space. Coronal holes can sometimes spark auroral displays. The photo was taken on Feb. 25. NASA/SDO
An opening in the sun’s corona called a coronal hole has been streaming high speed particles Earth’s way this week. They’re expected to arrive later this afternoon, when they’ll pry into the planet’s magnetic defenses and cook up a minor geomagnetic storm. According to the latest space weather forecast, there looks to be a good chance for aurora across the northern states and Canada tonight beginning at nightfall and probably continuing after midnight.
Watch for arcs and small pillars in the lower half of the northern sky. I usually check first at nightfall, then every couple hours till midnight. If we do get aurora, I’ll update this blog with a photo, since clear skies are expected in my region tonight.
The moon and the pale planet Jupiter are visible in this photo taken this morning at 8:10 a.m. CST from Duluth, Minn. Bob King
Did you try sighting Jupiter and moon with binoculars this morning? It cleared up well ...