NASA spots burning 'Halloween lantern on the sun'

Rob Waugh
Contributor
It's that time of year again (NASA)

It’s the season for spooky things, even in space, and NASA has got into the Halloween spirit with a scary-looking Jack-o’-Lantern… on the sun.

The image was captured by NASA’s sun-watching satellite SDO, or Solar Dynamics Observatory, which watches the sun at all times from its orbit in space.

The evil, grinning face isn’t a sign that our sun has been taken over by demons, of course.

READ MORE

Parents are dressing their children up as Boris Johnson this Halloween

Parents can buy their children an ‘anti-nightmare mist’ this Halloween

The image, captured on October 8, 2014, shows ‘active regions’ on the surface of the sun, which 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, typically colorized in gold and yellow, to create a particularly Halloween-like appearance.

Not to be outdone, the Hubble space telescope also spotted a ghost in space - well, maybe if you squint from certain angles.

Is it a ghost or two colliding galaxies? (Hubble)

The image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope captures two galaxies of equal size in a collision that appears to resemble a ghostly face.

This observation was made on 19 June 2019 in visible light by the telescope’s Advanced Camera for Surveys.

Although galaxy collisions are common - especially in the early universe - most are not head-on impacts like the collision that likely created this Arp-Madore system 704 million light-years from Earth.

This violent encounter gives the system an arresting ring structure, but only for a short amount of time.