In the days before Halloween, NASA has had a busy week. The agency just made public a new image of the Eagle Nebula taken by the James Webb Space Telescope in the spirit of the holiday season, in which the Pillars of Creation resemble a spectral hand. Coincidentally, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory was able to take a photo of the sun that was equally unsettling.
A number of Twitter users were quick to point out how the star in NASA’s photograph resembles a carved pumpkin when the organisation posted a photo of the sun on Wednesday. The similarity is explained by some intriguing science.
According to NASA, “These dark spots on the sun are coronal holes and are locations where rapid solar wind gushes out into space when observed in ultraviolet light.” Solar winds are constantly emitted by the sun. These geomagnetic storms have occasionally been known to cut off electricity here on Earth, as happened in a portion of Canada in 1989.The Solar Dynamics Observatory has already obtained some intriguing images of the sun. NASA published an animation showing the sun performing a somersault in 2016. The SDO’s annual seven-hour manoeuvre to take a precise measurement of the star’s edge produced the capture.
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