A Smile Appeared on the Sun After This Week's Solar Eclipse

The sun gave a big smile following this week's solar eclipse.

sun smiling nasa

The sun is more than a giant, molten ball of gas. It enjoys a good party, and it is more than willing to get dressed up for the occasion. 

Following a partial solar eclipse on October 25, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) got an image of the solar system's only star, and it looks like it is smiling. "Seen in ultraviolet light," NASA said in a tweet, "these dark patches on the Sun are known as coronal holes and are regions where fast solar wind gushes out into space."

The image was taken by the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly aboard the SDO spacecraft. The coronal holes appear darker because of how the temperature difference registers with the imaging equipment.

That "triple stream of solar wind" created by the smiling coronal holes could actually bring increased auroral activity in the sky on October 29, per SpaceWeather.com. When strong solar winds are directed toward Earth, the southern and northern lights can appear more vibrant and even further from the poles than they are normally seen.

This isn't the first time the sun has appeared to don a face around Halloween. Back in 2019, NASA shared an image of the sun looking an awful lot like a jack-o'-lantern

Ready to go stargazing?

Here are all the best stargazing events that you can get out and see this month or you could stay in a stream the northern lights from home. If you're just getting started, check out our guide to astronomy for beginners or easy stargazing road trips from big US cities.

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Dustin Nelson is a Senior Staff Writer at Thrillist. Follow Dustin on Twitter.