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NASA shares creepy picture of the Sun smiling in time for Halloween
Featured Image Credit: NASA

NASA shares creepy picture of the Sun smiling in time for Halloween

The darker patches make the sun look like it's 'smiling' in the photo.

NASA has shared a rather spooky image of the sun 'smiling' - just in time for Halloween this week.

The image, shared on Twitter, shows the sun with a pattern in its atmosphere. The darker patches make the sun look like it's 'smiling' in the photo, with two eyes and a big grin.

"Say cheese!," reads the post.

"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."

Social media users are loving the image, with the post attracting over 15,000 likes and 4,000 retweets.
Twitter

Social media users are loving the image, with the post attracting over 15,000 likes and 4,000 retweets.

One person commented: “That looks so cool! It kinda does look like the sun is smiling."

While another said: "Getting into the Halloween spirit! Perfect pumpkin color, too!"

And a third added: “Pretty cool but at the same time, horrifying."

Another joked: "It's also just dawned on me that @TeletubbiesHQ were right all this time about there being a face in the sun."

And another said: “I see two versions of the smiley, the large coronal hole is a nose and there is a curve to the swirls under it that is a mouth, or the large coronal hole is a cutesy mouth itself."

Despite the sun's cheerful expression, experts explain that the patches are coronal holes, which can cause a solar storm on Earth.

NASA explain: "The dark areas - called coronal holes - are places where very little radiation is emitted, yet are the main source of solar wind particles."

A solar storm occurs when the sun emits bursts of energy in solar flares and 'coronal mass ejections'.

Spaceweather.com said: “The cheerful mein [sic] is spewing a triple stream of solar wind toward Earth.”

Despite the sun's cheerful expression, experts explain that the patches are coronal holes.
Elemental Studios/Alamy Stock Photo

In other space news, NASA has confirmed that the hole in the ozone layer over the South Pole has shrunk by 700,000 square miles - the size of Texas.

It is believed that the progress in the size of the hole is the result of the ban on ozone-depleting chemicals, known as The Montreal Protocol.

Introduced in 1987, its aim was to phase out the damaging substances such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) - once found in fridges and spray cans - that had been increasing the size of the hole over many years.

You can read more about that here.

Topics: News, NASA