Smiley in the Sky: NASA satellite captures 'happy expression' on Sun’s surface after solar eclipse

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured the image which many are calling 'creepy yet cute'

Smiley in the Sky: NASA satellite captures 'happy expression' on Sun’s surface after solar eclipse
The 'creepy yet cute' image was caused by coronal holes (NASA/Twitter)
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WASHINGTON: The Sun is finally in a good mood. A jolly photograph released by NASA shows the Sun "smiling for the camera".

In an image taken from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), a face-like pattern appeared on the surface of the nearest star to the Earth. As per the space agency, the friendly expression on the surface of the sun was formed due to black patches known as coronal holes.

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The space agency on Thursday, October 27 released the cheerful picture on the official Twitter handle of NASA Sun with a statement reading, “Say cheese! 📸 Today, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory caught the Sun "smiling." Seen in ultraviolet light, these dark patches on the Sun are known as coronal holes and are regions where fast solar wind gushes out into space.” The joyful picture has garnered more than 11,000 likes and nearly 2,500 retweets. In the comment section, while some internet users were simply left astonished by the expression, many found the picture "creepy yet cute".

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Launched by NASA on February 11, 2010, the SDO remains in the orbit around the Earth and captures photographs of the Sun in 10 different wavelengths of ultraviolet light. During this operational period, the satellite recorded a number of changes on the surface of the Sun. The dark spots caught on camera this week are caused by solar winds heading out into space.

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However, space experts also claimed that the sun is not as happy as it looks in the new picture. The experts say the coronal holes that appeared on the surface of the sun hold the capability of causing a solar storm on Earth. The coronal holes are open magnetic field regions in the Sun's atmosphere that are cooler and denser than the surrounding plasma.

As per SpaceWeather.com, a website that keeps track of all the solar activities due to the Sun's "smiley face", an intense solar storm is now expected to hit Earth on October 28 or 29. In technical language, these storms are bursts of radiation are caused by releases of magnetic energy on the Sun's surface. These are not directly harmful to human beings but majorly affect technologies especially related to radio, communications, GPS, etc. Space missions or astronauts working in space can also get affected due to the magnetic energy-induced radiation released from the surface of the Sun.

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