Natural phenomenon, or portal to hell?

Gaping Maw

A second giant "hole," large enough to easily fit 20 Earths, has torn the Sun's surface apart, heralding our star's most ferocious period during its 11-year cycle.

While these kinds of coronal holes aren't uncommon — just last week, astronomers discovered a similar hole 30 times the Earth's size — they usually appear in the proximity of the Sun's poles.

This latest hole, however, appeared near the equator, suggesting we're in for some stunning auroras back on Earth. That's because these events cause the Sun's particles to be shot across the solar system and interact with the Earth's atmosphere.

"I would expect some fast wind from that coronal hole to come to Earth around Friday night into Saturday morning of this week," Daniel Verscharen, associate professor of space and climate physics at University College London, told Insider, adding that the hole's "location makes it very interesting."

Portal to Hell

The news comes after much of North America was able to enjoy some spectacular light shows in the form of auroras. Residents from New York to as far south as Arizona were treated to dazzling hues of green and purple last week due to a "severe geomagnetic storm" triggered by the Sun's powerful eruptions.

It was the most powerful solar storm of its kind in nearly six years, reports, surprising even space weather experts.

However, it won't be powerful enough to damage satellites or power grids back on Earth, due to its positioning on the Sun's surface in relation to the Earth's.

In other words, you'll get to watch the show unfold in the night sky without having to worry too much. Perfect.

READ MORE: A second giant 'hole' has appeared on the sun, and it could send 1.8 million mph solar winds towards Earth [Insider]

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