POTENT CORONAL HOLE FACES EARTH: A canyon-shaped hole in the sun's atmosphere is facing Earth, and it is spewing a stream of fast-moving solar wind toward our planet. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory photographed the giant fissure on March 25th:
This is a "coronal hole" (CH) -- a vast region where the sun's magnetic field opens up and allows solar wind to escape. A gaseous stream flowing from this coronal hole is expected to reach our planet on during the late hours of March 27th and could spark moderately-strong G2-class geomagnetic storms around the poles on March 28th or 29th.
We've seen this coronal hole before. In early March, it lashed Earth's magnetic field with a fast-moving stream that sparked several consecutive days of intense auroras around the poles. The coronal hole is potent because it is spewing solar wind threaded with "negative polarity" magnetic fields. Such fields do a good job connecting to Earth's magnetosphere and energizing geomagnetic storms.