Photo credit: NASA/SDO
NASA just shared an image of the sun that makes it look like a jack-o’-lantern due to the active regions on the surface. This image was captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, which watches the sun at all times from its orbit in space on October 8th, 2014. These active regions appear brighter due to those areas emitting more light and energy.
The regions are markers of an intense and complex set of magnetic fields hovering in the sun’s atmosphere, the corona. One thing you may not know is that this isn’t a single shot, but rather this image combines two sets of extreme ultraviolet wavelengths at 171 and 193 Ångströms, typically colorized in gold and yellow, to create a particularly spooky appearance. In related news, did you know that the name jack-o’-lantern derives from the phenomenon of a strange light flickering over peat bogs, called will-o’-the-wisp or jack-o’-lantern? If not, well now you know.