Sun’s ‘Jack-o-lantern’: NASA Shares Perfect Picture From Archives to Set the Mood For Halloween
According to NASA, the ‘active areas’ look brighter because they are spots of the highest light and energy emittance. (Credit: NASA/Twitter)
Halloween is celebrated on October 31 across the United States of America and many other Western countries. The ‘all-hallow’s eve’ is a day dedicated to all things spooky and supernatural.
While it has some serious religious roots, the majority of the attraction of Halloween is in popular culture and media.
Through a mixture of culture and tradition (and social media led globalisation), almost everyone relates the pumpkin to Halloween. The healthy vegetable that usually makes children run away when forced to eat is the centre of attraction on this festival.
The pumpkin is used to make traditional Halloween dishes, its colours (tan/orange) are mostly symbolic of the festival and is widely used for decoration in various forms. People grow large pumpkins in the season, prior so they are ready by Fall (Autumn).
The most ubiquitous use of the pumpkin is to create “Jack-O-Lantern” – a lamp created by hollowing a pumpkin and carving a face onto its surface. Then people place light/candle inside and put it out on their doorsteps to illuminate the dark, spooky night.
Though not many would claim any scientific importance to the festival or relate it to the grand scheme of the universe in general, but people working at NASA are still allowed to enjoy the festive season like everyone else.Recently, they joined the festivities on Twitter by posting this rather fantastical image of the sun. The image of the sun is from October 8, 2014 taken at NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). The sun’s active regions vs the darkened regions are aligned in a way that it looks like a traditional Jack-O-Lantern face.
According to NASA, the ‘active areas’ look brighter because they are spots of the highest light and energy emittance. They also mark the sun’s magnetic fields, which NASA calls complex and intense, and create this hovering effect on the sun’s atmosphere- the corona. There are two sets of UV rays at 171 and 193 Ångströms wavelengths. These are the ones that appear bright yellow and gold in the image.
NASA captured this image as “Cosmos’ creepy celestial displays!”The caption goes, “As you get into the sinister spirit for #Halloween, look to the cosmos for creepy celestial displays. In 2014, active regions on the Sun traced out an eerie jack-o’-lantern’s face, seen in ultraviolet light by our Sun-watching satellite.”
As you get into the sinister spirit for #Halloween, look to the cosmos for creepy celestial displays. 👻✨ In 2014, active regions on the Sun traced out an eerie jack-o’-lantern’s face, seen in ultraviolet light by our Sun-watching satellite. https://t.co/uI9DCMr3RQ pic.twitter.com/CZDb0hdzwL— NASA Sun & Space (@NASASun) October 24, 2020
Here’s how people responded to the Tweet with nearly 1.4K likes.
A solar jack 'o lantern! Is the Sun, the fuel of life, hell itself, the residence of the ruler, the director of anti-life? Perhaps Sol is the balancing attractive force that will ultimately collapse our system into original equilibrium.— Billy Sledge (@WriteOnBilly) October 25, 2020
Jack-O-Lanterns face visible at sun-spot are really a sun’s structure held in universe pic.twitter.com/5UZJFRjaZ5— R.R.Thakur (@RRThakur7) October 25, 2020
The Halloween is celebrated on October 31 every year.