A photo of the sun has made a splash on social media, thanks to its eery resemblance to a smiling jack-o-lantern.
NASA shared the photo on Twitter with the caption:
“Say cheese! Today, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory caught the Sun ‘smiling.’ ”
Say cheese! 📸
Today, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory caught the Sun "smiling." Seen in ultraviolet light, these dark patches on the Sun are known as coronal holes and are regions where fast solar wind gushes out into space. pic.twitter.com/hVRXaN7Z31
— NASA Sun & Space (@NASASun) October 26, 2022
Astronomer and UC Professor Dr. Brian Keating pointed out that the timing of the photo corresponded with Halloween and the sun happened to look a lot like a jack-o-lantern.
— Prof. Brian Keating (@DrBrianKeating) October 30, 2022
NASA added in its tweet that the dark patches on the sun are “known as coronal holes and are regions where fast solar wind gushes out into space.”
According to the Space Weather Prediction Center with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, coronal holes appear dark because “they are cooler, less dense regions than the surrounding plasma and are regions of open, unipolar magnetic fields. This open, magnetic field line structure allows the solar wind to escape more readily into space, resulting in streams of relatively fast solar wind and is often referred to as a high-speed stream in the context of analysis of structures in interplanetary space.”
They added that “Coronal holes can develop at any time and location on the Sun, but are more common and persistent during the years around solar minimum.”
Happy #SunDay! In the past week of space weather, there have been 3 solar flares, 23 coronal mass ejections, and no geomagnetic storms. The video below is from NASA’s Solar Dynamic Observatory, showing a smiling Sun near the end. pic.twitter.com/YVpM2vK0On
— NASA Sun & Space (@NASASun) October 30, 2022
Space is neat.Whizzco