(SPACE.COM) — A space telescope aimed at the sun has spotted a gigantic hole in the solar atmosphere — a dark spot that covers nearly a quarter of our closest star, spewing solar material and gas into space.

The so-called coronal hole over the sun’s north pole came into view between July 13 and 18 and was observed by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, or SOHO. NASA released a video of the sun hole as seen by the SOHO spacecraft, showing the region as a vast dark spot surrounded by solar activity.

Coronal holes are darker, cooler regions of the sun’s atmosphere, or corona, containing little solar material. In these gaps, magnetic field lines whip out into the solar wind rather than looping back to the sun’s surface. Coronal holes can affect space weather, as they send solar particles streaming off the sun about three times faster than the slower wind unleashed elsewhere from the sun’s atmosphere, according to a description from NASA.

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