NASA's Photo of a Jack-O'-Lantern Sun Is Here to Remind You That Space Can Be Terrifying
NASA releases a lot of unsettling photographs of outer space, from a shot of a ghoulish-green dead star to the first-ever image of a black hole. In honor of Halloween, the agency has republished one of the creepiest pictures ever taken of our solar system's sun.
As CNN reports, the picture above shows the sun bearing an uncanny resemblance to a grinning, glowing jack-o'-lantern. "Even our star celebrates the spooky season," NASA wrote in a Facebook post sharing the image.
But the sun didn't intentionally dress up as a pumpkin for Halloween. The photograph, which was taken in 2014, captures the active regions of the sun in ultraviolet light. The parts of the sun that look like a nose, eyes, and a smile are actually magnetic fields swirling in the sun's corona. The ultraviolet images captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) are typically colorized gold and yellow, and in this case, the color palette produced spooky results.
The SDO has been recording the sun from its orbit in space since launching in 2010. All that footage has led to phenomenal shots of solar flares, thermonuclear light shows, and the occasional creepy illusion.