The space agency is getting into the Halloween seasonal spirit – and it would seem the entire solar system is too. An image from NASA shows how the Sun took on a spooky appearance for a while, resembling a carved pumpkin. The space agency said the Sun is releasing magnetic flares which stem from deep beneath the star’s surface.
These bright lights appear when plasma travelling towards the Sun’s equator meet magnetic fields which are travelling the opposite way.
When they meet, a flurry of magnetic charge is released.
NASA said: “Even our star celebrates the spooky season — in 2014, active regions on the Sun created this jack-o’-lantern face, as seen in ultraviolet light by our Solar Dynamics Observatory satellite.
“The active regions in this image appear brighter because those are areas that emit more light and energy.
“They are markers of an intense and complex set of magnetic fields hovering in the sun’s atmosphere, the corona. This image blends together two sets of extreme ultraviolet wavelengths at 171 and 193 Ångströms (a unit of length equivalent to one ten-billionth of a metre), typically colorised in gold and yellow, to create a particularly Halloween-like appearance.”
NASA has been sharing other haunting images this month.
A stunning image was sent back from the European Space Agency’s (ESA) and NASA’s joint telescope Hubble which looks as if an alien face is emerging in deep space.
The odd-looking structure is created by blueish hue consisting of gas and faint stars making up the shape of the face while two sets of bright clusters of stars make up the eyes.
Halloween marks the night of All Hallow’s Evening, or All Hallow’s Eve, a period of mourning for the dead, saints and Christian martyrs.
Halloween celebrations are rooted in the Gaelic start of winter, known as Samhai.
Samhain is an ancient Gaelic festival marking the start of winter and the end of the harvest seasons.
The holiday is traditionally observed from October 31 to November 1 – the midway point between the Autumn Equinox and the Winter Solstice.