Following Tuesday’s partial solar eclipse, the Sun developed a smiley face pattern. NASA shared the picture of the sun ”smiling” on the official Twitter page of NASA Sun on Thursday. The image shows a face-like pattern made up of black patches on the Sun. NASA Sun shared the incredible image with the caption: ”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.”
Nasa’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, which is behind the image, is an agency mission aimed at investigating how solar activity is created and influences space weather. The agency was launched on 11 February 2010. The observatory’s spacecraft measures the sun’s interior, atmosphere, magnetic field and energy output.
The truth is that the Sun is not actually smiling in the image. What’s really going on here is the phenomenon of pareidolia. The phenomenon is the tendency of perception where people can imagine seeing things like faces in random patterns. It’s a trick of the mind, only this time it’s being played out on a stupendous, Sun-sized scale.
According to space experts, the picture of the Sun is not as happy as it looks. Scientists warn that the sun’s coronal holes may mean that a solar storm might be hitting Earth on Saturday night.
- paeridolia - the tendency to perceive a specific, often meaningful image in a random or ambiguous visual pattern.
- pattern - a particular way in which something is done, is organized, or happens.
- coronal holes - areas in the Sun's atmosphere that appear dark in X-ray and ultraviolet images of the Sun.
- gush (out) - to flow or send out quickly and in large amounts.
- stupendous - extremely impressive.
- solar storm - occur when the Sun emits huge bursts of energy in the form of solar flares and coronal mass ejections. These phenomena send a stream of electrical charges and magnetic fields toward the Earth at a speed of about three million miles per hour.
- solar flare - a brief eruption of intense high-energy radiation from the sun's surface.
Source: Greek Reporter