November 27, 2022

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NASA snapped a photo of a giant space pumpkin. This is the science behind the “smiling” sun.

NASA snapped a photo of a giant space pumpkin.  This is the science behind the "smiling" sun.

The spirit of Halloween this year was out of this world. Before celebrating the candy-filled costume and party favors, NASA’s Heliodynamics Observatory snapped a picture of the “smiling” sun — an image the cosmologist praised for its “smiling” sun.giant space pumpkin. ”

The image, which shows a glowing sun with two black holes above another crescent-shaped “smile”, was taken on October 26.

“These dark spots on the Sun, seen in ultraviolet light, are known as coronal holes and are regions where the fast solar wind flows into space,” NASA wrote on Twitter.

The gorgeous photo of the sun was certainly fun, but it came with tricks, too. coronal aperture triple thrust a Minor geomagnetic storm observation On Saturday, with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Space Weather Prediction Center warning that the holes were expected to “enhance and disturb the solar wind environment and lead to unstable conditions.”

coronal holesAccording to NASA, they are regions of the Sun that appear dark because they are cooler and less dense than the surrounding regions and have open magnetic fields. These properties allow “relatively fast solar wind currents” to escape more easily. Holes can develop at any time and place on the sun and winds can cause geomagnetic storms, arranged on a scale From G1 (small) to G5 (extreme), which has the potential to disrupt power and other systems on Earth while also affecting spacecraft operations.

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Even small storms can cause “weak fluctuations in the power grid,” according to the center, and affect the operations of satellites and migrating animals. These storms also cause the northern lights to be more visible in the south.

In the most extreme storms, some grid systems can experience a “complete collapse” and the aurora borealis can be seen as far south as Florida and southern Texas.

The center said last week that “unstable conditions” are expected to extend into Wednesday. But as of Monday, No geomagnetic storms Or predict the presence of “temporary or recurring solar wind features”. On Sunday, the center said there had been no “geomagnetic storms” last week.

The sun made a similar appearance to Halloween in 2014, when NASA took pictures of the sun looking like it Strange Jack O Lantern. The somewhat spine-tinged glow seen coming from the sun was caused by regions emitting more light and energy, NASA said in time.

halloweensun20142k.jpg
This image shows the sun shining like a jack-o’-lantern. The photo was taken on October 8, 2014.

NASA/SDO