NASA's Once-in-a-lifetime Snapshot of the Sun Looks Like a Giant, Fiery Jack-o'-lantern
The photo was first captured in 2014, but Halloween fans have been resharing the Jack-o'-Lantern look-alike leading up to the holiday.
With plenty of meteoroids to see and special moons to catch this month, many have been celebrating the imminent arrival of Halloween by gazing into the night sky. But the team of astronauts and space scientists at NASA are reminding us that the sun can be just as uncanny and chilling as the moon; on Sunday, they've reshared a once-in-a-lifetime image where the sun appears to be a giant, flaming jack-o'-lantern.
Taking to Facebook, NASA shared the image with its 1.4 million fans, offering a free download of the celestial snapshot. "Even our star celebrates the spooky season," the post reads. "In 2014, active regions on the sun created this jack-o'-lantern face, as seen in ultraviolet light by our Solar Dynamics Observatory satellite." And if you think the sun's scary face-like appearance may be just a chance coincidence, NASA says the image was originally taken on October 8, just weeks before Halloween.
According to the agency's website, NASA officials say this photo is the result of active regions of the sun burning more brightly and ferociously than others. The sun is being constantly monitored by a special division at NASA, known as the Solar Dynamics Observatory, which originally snapped the photo; personnel there shared that it appears to be so frightening due to a rare blend of two ultraviolet wavelengths.
"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," NASA's website reads. "This image blends together two sets of extreme ultraviolet wavelengths at 171 and 193 Ångströms, typically colorized in gold and yellow, to create a particularly Halloween-like appearance."
With Halloween swiftly approaching, this spine-tingling preview into space could make for a great phone background or desktop image—NASA is inviting fans to download a high-res image on their site.