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A canyon of fire that’s 12,000 miles deep opened on the Sun

Published Apr 6th, 2022 5:07PM EDT
huge solar eruption from bright sun on dark background
Image: lukszczepanski/Adobe

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The Sun ejected filaments of plasma from an active sunspot, opening a massive canyon of fire. The canyon’s creation released powerful streams of solar winds that could create geomagnetic storms when they collide with Earth.

A canyon of fire just opened on the Sun

The new canyon that appeared on the surface of the Sun is at least 12,400 miles deep, according to Space Weather. It’s also reported to be at least 10 times as long as that, making it a massive fissure in the Sun’s surface. It was discovered by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, which also reported two previous solar flares this weekend, as noted in the above tweet.

Thus far, the Met Office has confirmed the ejection of two “filament eruptions” from the canyon of fire. These eruptions were spotted in the south-central part of the Sun and blasted out into space on Sunday, April 3 and Monday, April 4. The first ejection was expected to hit Earth today.

When intense solar winds like the one ejected from the canyon of fire hit the Earth, they cause geomagnetic storms. The Met Office only expected the ejection to trigger a mild geomagnetic storm. That means we’ll probably see a higher presence of aurora borealis in the sky over the coming days. These kinds of storms can also cause some interferences with satellites and electronics, but it shouldn’t be too serious.

Less geomagnetic activity in the coming days

northern lights photo
Expect expanded appearances of the Northern Lights after the recent discovery of a canyon of fire on the Sun. Image source: surangaw / Adobe

The Met Office also reports that we should see less activity in the Earth’s geomagnetic environment over the coming days. That’s because the overactive sunspot that has contributed to much of the solar winds we’ve seen is now facing away from the Earth. As such, the canyon of fire shouldn’t be much of a problem for Earth’s geomagnetic environment.

Still, seeing a massive canyon of fire appearing on the surface of the Sun is astounding. It’s not the first time that the Sun has surprised us recently, either. Scientists have also been looking into mysterious waves discovered on the surface of the Sun. This is, of course, just one of the many mysteries that the Sun holds for us. With spacecraft like the Parker Solar Probe, we’ll hopefully learn more about the star our world orbits.

This isn’t the first time we’ve witnessed a canyon of fire appearing on the Sun, either. NASA shared a video back in 2013 of an eruption that left a massive fissure over 200,000 miles long across the surface of the Sun. This new canyon sounds like it is somewhat smaller, though still impressive in length and depth.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.

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