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the elephant's trunk


Do coronal holes all look the same? No! Because the Sun's magnetic field is never quite as simple as that of a bar magnet, coronal holes can come in all shapes and sizes all over the Sun.

Elephant's trunk

Here's an interesting collection of images from different instruments aboard SOHO. Can you see the dark coronal hole stretching all the way from the north pole down to a point south of the equator? mouse over arrow


This was nicknamed the elephant's trunk coronal hole by the scientists who studied it. mouse over arrow


To be a successful scientist you need to have great imagination.


Although coronal holes mostly occur at the Sun’s magnetic poles, they can appear anywhere on the Sun, wherever the magnetic field is open.


They can be round or long and thin - they always have to be the same shape as the open region of the magnetic field.

Why were the elephants thrown out of the swimming pool? - Because they couldn't keep their trunks up  


Here's an X-ray image of a gorgeous coronal hole stretching way down past the equator. It was observed with the YOHKOH satellite. Of course the colours in this X-ray image are not real. Since our eyes cannot see X-rays, we can use any colours we like to display X-ray images. We thought you’d like a change here, but the coronal hole is still black.

You can see more movies in our Gallery

[Movie file 1mb or more - High quality]


Below is an X-ray movie of a coronal hole taken by Skylab, way back in the 70's. This was when scientists first discovered that the 'fast' solar wind comes from coronal holes.




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