A Halloween-Themed Sun Captured By NASA

  • NASA shares a ‘pumpkin Sun’ image that was captured by the Solar Dynamics Observatory in 2014.
  • The image is colorized in yellow and gold tones to create a Halloween-themed appearance.

Like other stars, our Sun is a ball of gas. In terms of mass, it is about 70.6% hydrogen and 27.4% helium. Although it’s not a large star, it is far more massive than Earth: the volume of the Sun is equivalent to volume of 1.3 million Earths.

There are a lot of things that make Sun an intriguing star of the Milky Way galaxy. And since life on Earth depends on the Sun, it remains one of the most studied astronomical objects.

An observation carried out in 2014, for example, shows active regions of the Sun that give it an appearance of a jack-o’-lantern. The image was captured by the Solar Dynamics Observatory, NASA’s spacecraft that has been studying Sun since 2010.

Images In Different Light

To generate a Halloween-themed appearance, researchers combined active regions of Sun captured in ultraviolet radiation, which is not visible to humans.

The active regions are areas that eject more energy and light, thus they look brighter. These are results of complex and intense magnetic fields hovering in the corona, the outermost part of the Sun’s atmosphere.

The image, in which the Sun appears as a gold and black orb of fire with a smiling face, is obtained by blending two sets of wavelengths at 193 and 171 angstroms. The active regions make up the facial components of the Sun-o’-lantern: the wicked mouth, nose, and eyes are all there upon the star’s countenance of plasma. If you take a close look, you can see little flaming ears too.

Read: Physicists Discover A New Fundamental Constant Of The Sun

The blue image of the Sun is captured in 335 angstrom extreme UV light.

This above pumpkin sun picture is captured in 171 angstrom extreme UV light.

Another picture of the pumpkin sun imaged in 193 angstrom extreme UV light.

All images were captured by the Solar Dynamics Observatory on 8th October 2014. You can download them in high resolution (4096×4096) from NASA’s official website.

Written by
Varun Kumar

Varun Kumar is a professional science and technology journalist and a big fan of AI, machines, and space exploration. He received a Master's degree in computer science from Indraprastha University. To find out about his latest projects, feel free to directly email him at [email protected] 

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