Rudolph Makes an Appearance (December 11, 2003)
Click on the image for a GIF animation
Just as we sometimes seem to see distinct shapes of things in clouds,
one of our clever viewers saw what appears to be the outline of Rudolph
the Red-Nosed reindeer. Peter Kuklok from Germany, came up with the
outline, and we could not resist sharing it with everyone else. Of
course, what we are really perceiving in the darker area (when viewed
in extreme ultraviolet light) is a substantial coronal hole, a part of
the Sun where solar particles are following open magnetic field lines
out into space. Like sunspots, they do not stay the same, bur rather
develop and change over time. These can send enough particles that,
when they reach Earth, can generate minor geomagnetic disturbances with
some aurora as well.
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