Remember the sun from Teletubbies that had the face of an adorable baby who was always ready with a smile? In a bizarre case of life imitating art, the real sun was recently captured with an almost cartoonish smile on its surface.
Say cheese! 📸— NASA Sun, Space & Scream 🎃 (@NASASun) October 26, 2022
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’s Solar Dynamics Observatory managed to capture the rare and astounding image that promptly went viral online. The SDO is a program that works towards understanding the changes in the sun’s radiation output.
According to the experts, the ‘eyes’ and the ‘smile’ are the regions of the sun where the magnetic field is open to interplanetary space and these areas of the surface send out a high-speed stream of solar wind.
Typically, these areas in the sun show up as dark spots. In this case, they have formed almost face-like features.
The reason why these spots appear empty and darker than the surrounding areas is that they have lower densities and temperatures.
But if you thought that you can zoom in on your 100x smartphone camera and capture the sun frowning for the next viral picture, hold your horses. While it can occur anytime, these dark spots are only visible under ultraviolet and X-ray lights and would not be captured by the naked eye or a home telescope.
On the more sombre side, experts over at SDO believe that these spots could be a sign of geomagnetic storms that could affect the Earth’s magnetic field. As of now, there has been no news of any solar disruptions.
What do you think of the sun’s picture-perfect smile?