The Jack-O-Lantern on the surface of the Sun. Sounds creepy? The sun recently showed off a scary grin on its surface: a fascinating spectacle of intense light and magnetic activities.
The sun which is our main energy source is so much more than what our eyes can grasp of it. Daily, a number of energetic and magnetic processes are happening in its midst: it is literally bursting with activities. Sometimes, these provide a phenomenal spectacle for us, inhabitants of the Earth, to feast upon. However, our earthly eyes are not enough to spot them.
Recently, on the 8th of October, the sun displayed areas of intense light and energy that together formed facial features on its surface, images captured by powerful telescopes.
These regions of the sun would emit more light and energy than usual, testimony of the great magnetism of the sun’s atmosphere. While the view we have of the sun with our naked eyes is limited, telescopes both on Earth and in space allow for the observation of the sun in many different wavelengths of light.
NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) recorded observations at wavelengths ranging from 4500 to 131 angstroms from the surface to the hot materials in a flare. This revealed a weird, and scary grin on the ‘face’ of the sun. The above image represents the combination of two sets of wavelengths: 171 and 193 angstroms, coloured as gold and yellow. Find the individual images here.