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NASA spacecraft spies square hole in sun's sphere

Say that headline ten times fast.
By Brooks Hays   |   May 12, 2014 at 1:30 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, May 12 (UPI) -- An updraft of solar winds ripped a hole in the sun's outer atmosphere with remarkable geometric precision, creating a nearly perfect square.

The dark spot, seen in the video and picture, is known as a "coronal hole." It is the gap made when solar winds rip up, out and away from the sun's surface at astonishing speeds -- the solar winds taking advantage of a cooler, weakened spot in the sun's magnetic field.

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory -- a satellite that focuses its gaze on the sun while orbiting Earth, capturing high resolution imagery of the mother star -- recorded a video of the square hole last week. Officials released the video over the weekend.

"Inside the coronal hole you can see bright loops where the hot plasma outlines little pieces of the solar magnetic field sticking above the surface," SDO officials wrote in a news release. "Because it is positioned so far south on the sun, there is less chance that the solar wind stream will impact us here on Earth."

© 2014 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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