Since Wednesday (26 Oct), forces of solar wind and plasma have conspired to seemingly display two eyes and a cheeky grin.
The phenomenon is continuing today, with NASA reporting: "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"
The scenes have been captured by the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) spacecraft, which observes the Sun’s dynamics to "increase understanding of the nature and sources of solar variability".
SDO documents the outer atmosphere of the Sun - called the corona - as well as hot flare plasma.
NASA explains: "Hot active regions, solar flares, and coronal mass ejections will appear bright here.
"The dark areas - called coronal holes - are places where very little radiation is emitted, yet are the main source of solar wind particles."
The Solar Dynamics Observatory studies how energy is stored and released in the Sun’s atmosphere, where the Sun’s energy come from, and the interior of the Sun we can better model and forecast “space weather.”
The Sun is the star at the centre of the Solar System; a nearly perfect ball of hot plasma, heated to incandescence by nuclear fusion reactions in its core.
It radiates this energy mainly as light, ultraviolet, and infrared radiation, and is the most important source of energy for life on Earth.
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