NASA Shares Photo Of The Sun Looking Like A Jack O'Lantern
NASA has released a photograph showing the sun in a terrifying new light, eerily captured looking remarkably like a carved Halloween pumpkin.
Let's be honest, the gigantic fiery ball of nuclear energy hovering ethereally at the centre of our solar system doesn't need any help being terrifying, but give it a creepy orange grin and a couple of eyes and you've got a recipe for nightmares, right there.
NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, who have cameras and telescopes trained on the sun at all times to observe moments such as this, shared the incredible - if somewhat existentially chilling - snap to their Facebook and Twitter pages yesterday (27 October).
So, what's the science behind it?
Well, the grin and eyes in the image - captured on 8 October 2014 - are just the difference in activity between different bits of the sun. As with any other heat map, the bits that are hotter show up in a different colour which, in this case, has rendered the face of a jack o'lantern onto our nearest star.
NASA said: "The active regions in this image appear brighter because those are areas that emit more light and energy."
"They are markers of an intense and complex set of magnetic fields hovering in the sun's atmosphere, the corona.
"This image blends together two sets of extreme ultraviolet wavelengths at 171 and 193 Ångströms, typically colourised in gold and yellow, to create a particularly Halloween-like appearance."
Yep, they got that right. Well, the bits that people who aren't NASA trained scientists can understand, anyway.
If you like what you see, and you'd have to admit that it's pretty cool, you can download several high resolution versions of this remarkable image on NASA's website 'just in time for Halloween'.
If large celestial events are your thing, the next proper event upstairs is due to take place on 26 May 2021.
That's when we'll see a 'super blood moon eclipse'. Well, weather permitting.
Although those in Europe are unlikely to get a good view of the celestial event, those in Australia, South America, Asia and the western United States could see a 14-minute-long eclipse that will see the super full moon totally covered over.
As with all of these such events, you shouldn't look directly at it, as - you know - sunlight isn't great for your delicate retinas.
Perhaps just wait for NASA to snap a photo of it and share it online.
Featured Image Credit: NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory