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Two Huge Holes In the Sun Spotted

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the need-that-like-a-hole-the-sun dept.

Earth 204

An anonymous reader writes "Japanese scientists have spotted two huge holes on the sun's magnetic field, and it appears there is some reason to be concerned about. The holes, called coronal holes, are gateways for solar material and gas to spill out into space, according to space.com. The gaps in the sun's magnetic field make a hole through its atmosphere, letting gas out, NASA has said."

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204 comments

You read the article I get first post (-1, Offtopic)

sustik (90111) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193400)

Ha!

NASA link (4, Informative)

sustik (90111) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193412)

Re:NASA link (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193486)

This Solar Dynamics Observatory image of the Sun taken on January 10 in extreme ultraviolet light captures a dark coronal hole just about at sun center. Coronal holes are areas of the Sun's surface that are the source of open magnetic field lines that head way out into space. They are also the source regions of the fast solar wind, which is characterized by a relatively steady speed of approximately 800 km/s (about 1.8 million mph). As the sun continues to rotate, the high speed solar wind particles blowing from this hole will likely reach Earth in a few days and may spark some auroral activity.

The original article is not very informative at all. This, however, means that some people will get to see some lights. Cool. But coronal holes are far from rare.

So... (3, Insightful)

lolololol (1991780) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193418)

Why is there reason to be "concerned"? It is an interesting find, but that solar gas won't do much to harm Earth.

Exactly. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35193456)

I have a hole, gas comes out, but it doesn't do much to harm Earth.

Re:Exactly. (1)

skratchjerk (608410) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193592)

I have a hole, gas comes out, but it doesn't do much to harm Earth.

It harms me.

Re:Exactly. (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193694)

I have a hole, gas comes out, but it doesn't do much to harm Earth.

It harms me.

Yes, by contributing to global warming.

Re:Exactly. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35193798)

I have a hole, gas comes out, but it doesn't do much to harm Earth.

It harms me.

Yes, by contributing to global warming.

Just stop with this fail "argument". Just stop.

Methane, from living organisms on or near the surface of the planet do not contribute to Global Warming problem on any significant scale. The argument is as retarded as saying that clouds contribute to GW. It shows the utter ignorance of the problem and its real causes.

Re:Exactly. (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193818)

Clouds actually do NOT contribute. Having a high albedo, they reflect a lot of incoming sunlight back into space.

Re:Exactly. (3, Funny)

by (1706743) (1706744) | more than 3 years ago | (#35194378)

Clouds actually do NOT contribute. Having a high albedo, they reflect a lot of incoming sunlight back into space.

Am I the only one who often misreads/mispronounces "albedo" as "libido"?

I guess that could send the wrong message to friends when you're sitting outside staring at the moon and commenting on its reflectivity...

Re:Exactly. (2)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193888)

They don't contribute at all, because all the stuff we're giving out is stuff that was already in the atmosphere, and was fixed into plants and then back into animals (possibly us).

The only thing that contributes to global warming is digging up carbon from under ground and putting it in the air, simple as that.

Re:Exactly. (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 3 years ago | (#35194140)

Well, mostly..

There is the argument about artificial fertilizers made from petroleum products, transportation of food stuffs and so on being used on a lot of the plant material that causes the an increase in global warming. But I have never seen anything that showed it to be a significant contribution in and of that alone.

Re:Exactly. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35194174)

Uh.... what? What is the real problem and its real causes?

Do you ever find yourself experiencing extreme cognitive dissonance telling people their arguments are fail without actually having any yourself?

Let me guess... methane from non-organisms near the surface of the planet does contribute to global warming on a significant scale however? Is the real problem actually that there are people and that people do things which release more methane than otherwise would have been release?

Is my .0001ppt CO2 emission over my lifetime really making that much of a difference, even times seven billion?

Re:So... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35193578)

Well, I've been a ham radio operator for a long time, and have seen this sort of thing occasionally.

No, it won't directly harm us, but it could wreak havoc on the radio spectrum.

Depending on what exactly happens, we hams may see some terrific "skip" conditions on the shortwave
bands, or we may experience a near-complete wipe-out where nothing gets through, let alone bouncing
off a layer in the upper atmosphere. It may also disrupt some satellite links depending on the position of
the various satellites relative to the wave of incoming particles/stuff and which way the satellites are aimed
towards their ground stations.

Folks in higher latitudes may be treated to an incredible display of "Northern Lights" or "Southern Lights" as appropriate.
Considering we're just now coming out of a minimum in the 11 year sunspot cycle, this is indeed an interesting event.

Re:So... (0)

skids (119237) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193646)

Because two huge holes appeared in this publication's bottom line, and they can only be sealed with ad exposure revenue! So click frantically my friend, click like a frightened idiot!

Re:So... (1, Funny)

mysidia (191772) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193682)

Why is there reason to be "concerned"? It is an interesting find, but that solar gas won't do much to harm Earth.

The concern is that gas escape from our sun might actually burn out and go red giant in 5.4 billion years instead of 5.5 billion years, reducing the lifetime of earth by perhaps 200000000 years or so.

Re:So... (2)

avgjoe62 (558860) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193904)

There is absolutely no reason to be concerned - unless, of course, the sun eats a couple of Jupiter-sized bean burritos...

Re:So... (0, Troll)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#35194160)

Of course we should be concerned. It's immediately obvious that these coronal holes are caused by driving gas-guzzling SUV's, the indiscriminate use of Vuvuzelas and of course Sharia law. I propose a new tax on all economic growth in order to solve this problem.

Re:So... (3, Insightful)

MBaldelli (808494) | more than 3 years ago | (#35194202)

Why is there reason to be "concerned"? It is an interesting find, but that solar gas won't do much to harm Earth.

Having done a little scanning of this news from the source of the article, NASA, Space Weather, this is hardly rare and not the sign of an impending stellar apocalypse. From the less credible sources, the concerns that are sort of just below the surface is that the sun's going to lose it's fuel because of these holes in much the same manner as it was originally thought if we were to sent rockets into space would punch holes in the atmosphere of Earth causing all the air to funnel off into space.

One would hope such wacky conspiracy theorists would've died off around the same time as it was determined driving in a car more than 25 MPH would cause our bones to turn to jelly, but it would appear that they're still around.

Re:So... (2)

vux984 (928602) | more than 3 years ago | (#35194264)

Why is there reason to be "concerned"? It is an interesting find, but that solar gas won't do much to harm Earth.

Your missing the point. Its not that the gas will hit the earth. Its that the sun is like a giant balloon, and now it has a hole in it, that's letting the gas out.

The the sun will be completely deflated within a year!!

The sun worshipping mayans knew about this too, its clearly the 2012 apocalypse. I'm mean if you worshipped the sun like a god, why bother marking any dates on the calendar after the sun goes out.

Your toast - which way? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35193420)

Ah 2012 - thought the Mayans said Mother earth was going to laugh and reformat herself. Looks like Father Sun has a different choice for cooking us.

Re:Your toast - which way? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35193460)

The cosmic bukkake unleashed will be a pleasant experience for Mother Earth.

Re:Your toast - which way? (2)

rainmouse (1784278) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193556)

Ah 2012 - thought the Mayans said Mother earth was going to laugh and reformat herself. Looks like Father Sun has a different choice for cooking us.

Ah 2012 - thought the Mayans said Mother earth was going to laugh and reformat herself. Looks like Father Sun has a different choice for cooking us.

Mayans never said anything about 2012 doomsday, they just have a calender that cycles every 1,872,000 days. It's like aliens believing the universe will explode because this primitive Western human tribes calender only goes up to the 31st of December and then suddenly.......ends......

Re:Your toast - which way? (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193928)

Mayans never said anything about 2012 doomsday, they just have a calender that cycles every 1,872,000 days. It's like aliens believing the universe will explode because this primitive Western human tribes calender only goes up to the 31st of December and then suddenly.......ends......

The thing is, something *does* happen at the end of the 31st of December – the earth ends it's current revolution around the sun.

Mayan calendars (there are many of them) pretty much all track something interesting... Some track the moon, the sun, various stars. The reason that the popular myth about the end of the world persists is actually that all that can be deciphered about this particular calendar is that the mayans believed that it tracked the beginning of the world – people imagine that when it resets the world will need to be recreated, and hence need to end first.

Re:Your toast - which way? (5, Informative)

Stevecrox (962208) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193620)

I really hate this urban legend, read the wikipedia article on the Mayan Calender. [wikipedia.org]

Basically they had the Tzolk'in which provided a 260 day year (13 months of 20 days) which was used to plan ceremonies and events. Because that doesn't match up with the length of the year they developed the Haab which lasts 365 days this provided 18 months consisting of 20 days, with 5 "nameless" days.

However neither of these calenders providing a way of keeping track of the year, so the mayans worked out the year by using the Tzolk'in and Haab calenders, since those dates reset every 52 years the Mayans called that a Calender Round.

The Long Count was created so dates which occurred outside of the 52 year cycle could be stated, the end of the world myth exists because 1 Bakturn consists of 144,000 days. On December 21st 2012 this bakturn cycle ends, that doesn't mean the world will end to the Mayans the end of such a cycle is a time of celebration.

In short the Mayan calender system is a giant overly complicated mess.

Global Warming! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35193442)

Quick! Curb our CO2 emissions! They are burrowing into the sun!

Probably been there for ages (1)

xetovss (17621) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193462)

Just because it has been detected now doesn't mean it hasn't been around for hundreds, thousands, millions, or even billions of years already. So too early to say that these holes are anything to worry about. After all, the sun does coronal mass ejections quite often, some of which are aimed towards us, which while major events generally uneventful, maybe with some satellites knocked out.

Re:Probably been there for ages (0)

Burnhard (1031106) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193498)

The word "concern" in science basically means they are concerned that they get more funding, rather than concerned about the hole.

Re:Probably been there for ages (3)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193506)

Actually, I cannot find that danger either in the linked article, not in the NASA article sustik linked to in a comment. The latter just says that we have to expect more auroras when the gas stream hits us "in a few days" (and that article was from Jan 11, so it probably has hit us quite some time ago, apparently without major damages).

Re:Probably been there for ages (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35193736)

So too early to say that these holes aren't anything to worry about.

fixed. Your way is biased towards forgetting all about new discoveries until obvious issues arise. My way is biased towards not dismissing it, and keeping new information in the soup until we understand what it's effects are. If you say "nothing to see here" for everything, you'll be right 9 out of 10 times, so there's this trend in comments to dismiss everything, from a lack of spent nuclear fuel safety to global warming. But the game is not about saying the hay stack is free of needles and being 99.9% correct... the game, often enough, is about human lives. Be bold, and dare to be wrong most of the time... assume there is a needle in there when there probably isn't, and catch that unlikely danger even if it is very rare. This method is far more useful than trying to battle the media's attempt at scary sensationalism. Stop probably being right, and start being wrong until there is zero possibility that you aren't right.

Re:Probably been there for ages (1)

anlag (1917070) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193920)

They've hardly been around for years and years. The Sun is much more dynamic than that, and these things form and disappear basically all the time. That doesn't mean they're any reason to be alarmed though. It's simply part of the Sun's normal behaviour.

Bad Article (5, Insightful)

Stoutlimb (143245) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193494)

Holes in the sun! Sun losing gas to space! "Probably time is finally taking a toll on the benevolent star, which has been toiling hard for millennia!"

I wouldn't exactly call this science journalism. No explanation why, what will happen, etc... The only link on the article is labeled "NASA", but points to the main page of this crappy website. To their credit they have a photo of the sun, but is from another solar space mission unrelated to the article.

Hey editors, how on earth did this awful link get onto the main page?

Re:Bad Article (5, Informative)

Stoutlimb (143245) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193522)

Just an after thought... The article DID mention that this was reported on space.com, but they didn't provide a link. Here it is:

http://www.space.com/10825-sun-holes-space-photo-hinode.html [space.com]

I had a look, it's way better. Maybe this should have been the link provided in the submission.

Re:Bad Article (3, Insightful)

anlag (1917070) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193882)

Yes, went to post exactly the same thing. Not to bash the submission as such since it's nice to see people take an interest in my field of work, but surely it's not that much to ask to find the referenced article. Mind you, the space.com piece although better also doesn't go very much in depth of the subject. Then again one of the reasons for that is likely that it simply isn't a very big deal. The Sun is a very dynamic object, always has been and always will be. And that it spills stuff into space is hardly news, or cause for concern. They're still nice pictures though, from a great mission.

Re:Bad Article (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#35194254)

The Sun is a very dynamic object ... always will be

I can't help but wonder, how does "always" exclude the black dwarf stage? ;)

Re:Bad Article (1)

pavera (320634) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193886)

The space.com article still doesn't say why this is a concern, or even indicate that it is a concern.

Neither article states whether this is a normal phenomena either... I'd imagine the magnetic field of stars fluctuates, but maybe the solar system is about to lose its power source... I guess we'll see later today?

Re:Bad Article (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#35194276)

Oh I imagine the "electric universe" folks are hyperventilating in terror right about now...

Re:Bad Article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35194146)

I spot just one bug in slashdot. However that one is huge and makes the site unusable.

When you zoom the text, (ctrl+ in Chrome), the text spills out on the right side of the window and comments become unreadable. You have to scroll to read each line.

Is there a way to fix this, some external tool or style sheet? Another browser?

Re:Bad Article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35193614)

Well it is is true the sun has been "toiling" for millennia. Just like I have been living for seconds, a lot of seconds.

Re:Bad Article (1)

cyn1c77 (928549) | more than 3 years ago | (#35194394)

Hey editors, how on earth did this awful link get onto the main page?

Time to step it up editors. The quality of the "articles" have been slipping for several months now.

Personally, I'd rather see three extra minutes spent reviewing the quality of the linked articles than however long it takes to revamp the website every six months.

Well, that told me pretty much nothing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35193536)

TFA is remarkably poorly written. Poor grammar, poor structure, poor explanation, poor sourcing. Something tells me this anonymous "IB Times Staff Reporter" got the job by answering "work from home" spam.

And the concern is...? (4, Insightful)

ThunderBird89 (1293256) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193538)

The way I see it, unless one of those holes were pointed straight at us for an extended time, which is impossible due to difference in the orbital velocity of Earth and the rotational velocity of the Sun, we have nothing to worry about, and even then we'd only get a few blanked-out satellites.

Re:And the concern is...? (1)

canajin56 (660655) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193594)

The concern is coming from an anonymous International Business Times writer, who linked to the actual NASA release and said "OH NOES", then speculated that maybe the sun is just getting tired from working all the time. That is to say, somebody who knows nothing about the particular field he's "reporting" on is worried, and for no reason whatsoever.

Re:And the concern is...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35193684)

Thats what I thought too. During a solar minimum the whole side of the sun is a big whole. I was thinking there must be more to it so I was going to google the researchers and look into it more but screw it.

Re:And the concern is...? (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#35194152)

While I agree with you that it's extremely unlikely that a flare from either of these would hit us, I disagree with you on how serious it would be if they did. Relatively minor flares knock out satellites. Larger ones could easily cause a major extinction event. We have no scientific data regarding how often flares that larger happen, or how often they hit earth. But it is certainly within the realm of feasibility that one could be a very real problem for us in the future.

Don't panic (5, Funny)

vmxeo (173325) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193548)

Don't freak out that there's now an opening in the corona. Freak out when a celestial lime slice gets wedged it.

Re:Don't panic (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#35194078)

Don't freak out that there's now an opening in the corona. Freak out when a celestial lime slice gets wedged it.

I suspect if the sun suddenly gets turned into crappy beer, that is a clear sign I've been living in the wrong solar system all this time ...

Obligatory Image for the Article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35193554)

Where is an image of the goatse guy when you need it?

Strange brew that's also good for you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35193558)

That would be home made Kombucha(org) Tea. You call this 'weather'?

Global Warming (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35193582)

Global Warming.....

Help (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35193606)

Oh no! A hole in the sun. Call the president, America will save us!!

Nothing unusual AT ALL. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35193712)

Extremely badly written article. The coronal holes over the south and north pole of the sun have basically always been there, and been predicted by solar wind models for at least 50 years. The news here is simply that the hinode spacecraft managed to image them conclusively for the first time.

No reason to be concerned. Trust me, I'm a solar scientist.

old song (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193732)

Reminds me of an "educational" song I was exposed to when I was five or six:

The Sun is a mass,

of incandescent gas,

a gigantic nuclear furnace.

Re:old song (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35193776)

Reminds me of an "educational" song I was exposed to when I was five or six:

The Sun is a mass,

of incandescent gas,

a gigantic nuclear furnace.

They Might Be Giants, ftw!

Re:old song (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35194274)

Black hole Sun
Won't you come
And wash away the rain.

Yippie! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35193752)

Woohoo! We're all gonna die! We're all gonna die!
Oh! Wait!

Spaceweather (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35193796)

On spaceweather.com you have a daily picture of the sun: sunspots, holes... what I find interesting, that each and every day, when systems or people around me start behaving, then it's always something on the sun. So - what you've got is nothing new. How did your neighbor behave today?

Non-story, clueless writer (5, Informative)

Platinum Dragon (34829) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193800)

Visit spaceweather.com daily for a month or two, and keep an eye on the various Sun images on the left side. One is used to point out coronal holes, and you'll quickly realize how common they are. This may be related to the approaching solar maximum, though don't quote me on that.

I'm much more concerned about flare and mass ejection frequency. With all the satellites and poorly-shielded electrical circuits we rely upon, one or two wicked ejections aimed at Earth could turn a lot of gear into expensive junk.

Re:Non-story, clueless writer (1)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 3 years ago | (#35194346)

Visit spaceweather.com daily for a month or two, and keep an eye on the various Sun images on the left side. One is used to point out coronal holes, and you'll quickly realize how common they are. This may be related to the approaching solar maximum, though don't quote me on that.

I'm much more concerned about flare and mass ejection frequency. With all the satellites and poorly-shielded electrical circuits we rely upon, one or two wicked ejections aimed at Earth could turn a lot of gear into expensive junk.

Hmm, I kind of figured as much. I wonder if authors are really writing FUD for advertisement clicks. Yikes.

Re:Non-story, clueless writer (1)

foobsr (693224) | more than 3 years ago | (#35194366)

Incidentally, I was just watching the remake of "The Day the Earth Stood Still" and reading your post makes me think that probably a major 'Carrington Event' would probably do a good (?) lot more than just turning some gear into expensive junk.

CC.

Wrong title (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193876)

This site have a common profile for readers that should had been taken into account making the title of article. Something like "Sun farted. Oracle got it", or "We are toast, starting by Nokia". Should't be so bad, in other sites could had been "2012 doomsday true, Sun starting to break", "Another proof that global warming is a myth", or "The dangers of loose bullets"

Bad Gas? (2)

Mithrandris (1894870) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193890)

So our sun is venting fuel.. Probably didn't like the 15% Ethenol in it.. If the sun sees fit to fertalize space with it - odds are my car won't like it either.

Magnetic Void? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35193922)

Im confused, I know that the sky is falling. I know that its caused by greenhouse gasses. I just dont know how in the hell the gasses got up there. Somebody better call Al Gore for me.

Cycle peak (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35194008)

I'm pretty sure we are at the nastiest point of he current solar cycle.

Let's just call it what it is... (1)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | more than 3 years ago | (#35194020)

Looking at the NASA link above, I think they have discovered a "Solar Goatse".
Now the trick will be getting the other solar systems to look at it...

sun corona video feb 2011 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35194036)

sun corona video february 2011 here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NixmnoWE8RQ

One atom at a time (1)

mbone (558574) | more than 3 years ago | (#35194066)

These "holes" maybe let out 1 million atoms per cubic centimeter. That may sound like a lot, but on Earth this would be called a hard vacuum.

The Sun is also converting 6.2×10**11 kg of matter into energy per second and radiating it all away. One wonders that there is anything left after all of this time.

Re:One atom at a time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35194168)

Who wonders? I don't. I know the Sun is Very Big.

Re:One atom at a time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35194212)

The Sun is also converting 6.2×10**11 kg of matter into energy per second and radiating it all away. One wonders that there is anything left after all of this time.

That is wrong.
6.2*10^11 kg/s is only the amount of matter, that takes part in the fusion reaction.
The amount of matter that is converted into energy and radiated away is rather about 4.3*10^9 kg/s.

help me plan my afternoon (1)

atarione (601740) | more than 3 years ago | (#35194136)

so the wife just asked what i want to do this afternoon.... it would be helpful if someone could clarify if we are all going to die or not?

because if we are I'm going to be god damned if i'm going to go home depot for supplies to fix things about the house.

Only a class C type flares expected. (2)

novar21 (1694492) | more than 3 years ago | (#35194234)

It wont even create a good aurora. We need a good M type flare for that. Bummer. The wife really wants to see a good aurora someday. We live to close to the city lights for any good viewing. We would have to drive out into the country. Well since we are approaching solar maximum, we might have to take a drive in the next year or two. Here is the link that describes the events: www.spaceweather.com "BEHEMOTH SUNSPOT 1158: Sunspot 1158 is growing rapidly (48 hour movie) and crackling with C-class solar flares. The active region is now more than 100,000 km wide with at least a dozen Earth-sized dark cores scattered beneath its unstable magnetic canopy. Earth-directed eruptions are likely in the hours ahead." Class M flares are good for viewing. Class X is where we lose electricity or radio/satellites.

He Who Smelled it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35194292)

He who smelled it, dealt it as the saying goes, so stop trying to blame the sun...

TFA (1)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 3 years ago | (#35194332)

I wish the article would give some scientific reasons for why we should be concerned about "Two Huge Holes" and not leave it to the masses to make uneducated gesticulations. Does this mean that the sun is dying?
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