Solar activity creates frightening jack-o-lantern face (photos)

13 Oct 2014206 Views

The distinctive jack-o-lantern-like face on the sun's surface. Image via NASA/GSFC/SDO

With Hallowe’en around the corner, our sun is seemingly gearing up for the night of fright as new, stunning images from US space agency NASA show solar activity has created a jack-o-lantern-like face on its surface.

NASA’s observatory satellite the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) captured the series of photos on 8 October.

The SDO launched in 2010 to monitor activity on the sun’s surface and provide scientists with a better understanding of how its magnetic field is generated and how it creates various solar activities.

The images taken by the observatory have been blended together from two different wavelengths of light, specifically at 171 angstroms and 193 angstroms, which appear as gold and yellow. The result is the image of a wicked jack-o-lantern ‘pumpkin sun’.

The appearance of what looks like a face is the result of the brighter areas emitting more light and energy than the darker areas.

The sun as imaged by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory on October 8, in 335 angstrom extreme ultraviolet light. Image via NASA/GSFC/SDO

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The sun as imaged in 193 angstrom extreme ultraviolet light. Image via NASA/GSFC/SDO

The sun as imaged in 171 angstrom extreme ultraviolet light. Image via NASA/GSFC/SDO

The sun as imaged in 304 angstrom extreme ultraviolet light. Image via NASA/GSFC/SDO

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Colm Gorey is a senior journalist with Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com