Feb 23, 2019 | Updated: 08:52 AM EST

While Moon Turns Red, Sun Gets Halloween Ready in Jack-O-Lantern Style

Oct 12, 2014 11:56 PM EDT


While the whole world may not celebrate the spooky holiday of Halloween, ghosts and ghouls excluded in many nations' October attractions, the cosmos appears to be celebrating a bit early, and everyone's dressing up. It appears that this Halloween we're going back to the basics, and all of your favorite planets will be there. Mars will be Plymouth Rock, Earth will be a ball of fire, the moon has opted for a blood red werewolf, and the sun will apparently be a jack-o-lantern

Last Wednesday, Oct. 8, as most of the northern hemisphere was either asleep or up watching the shadow cast across the lunar eclipse of this year's final blood moon, NASA had its eyes set on the sun. And yet again, the Solar Dynamics Observatory caught a glimpse of the sun's erratic behavior, this time trying on a jack-o-lantern appearance for fun in hues of orange and gold.

Utilizing specialized imaging technology, which allows researchers to differentiate their view of the sun into specific wavelengths of light that are emitted from the high energy fusion and fission that occurs on the sun's surface. The specific image captured by NASA and shown above, is a composite image that blends wavelengths that emit gold and yellow regions of the spectrum. The two wavelengths captured and combined were 171 Angstroms (extreme ultraviolet light that revealed the sun's still outer atmosphere, known as the "corona") and 193 Angstroms (which revealed hotter regions of the corona).

"Active regions of the sun combined to look something like a jack-o-lantern's face on Oct. 8" NASA spokesperson said in a press release. "The active regions appear brighter because those are areas that emit more light and energy - markers of an intense and complex set of magnetic fields hovering in the sun's atmosphere, the corona."

While the Solar Dynamics Observatory has not observed any out-of-the-ordinary activity along the surface of the sun, constant surveys that reveal images such as the "jack-o-lantern" above allow researchers to monitor significant changes in the sun's activity that could have severe ramifications here on Earth. As such a major influence on communication technology, including everything from radio signals to simple magnetic fields that sustain electricity, satellites and even compasses, the sun is such a vital entity in our solar system, and ongoing observation continues to reveal more about the bright star at the center of our parts of the galaxy.

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