The Image of The "Smiling Sun" Was Posted on Twitter by The NASA
Following the partial solar eclipse, the Sun's atmosphere took on the shape of a happy face. The image of the "smiling Sun" was posted by NASA on its official Twitter account. The Sun is depicted in the artwork as having a face-like pattern made up of dark patches. The sun's surface contains black areas that resemble eyes and a smile in the image, which was taken by the NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory. According to NASA, the blotches are coronal holes, which are generally invisible to our eyes but may be seen in UV light.
These are areas on the sun's surface where solar wind that is moving quickly spews out into space. They have lower temperatures and are substantially darker than their surroundings because they have less solar material. The magnetic field in this location is open to interplanetary space, allowing solar material to escape in a fast-moving stream known as solar wind. Coronal holes have a lifespan of a few weeks to several months. The holes are not a rare occurrence; they can be seen throughout the sun's solar cycle, which lasts about 11 years. According to NASA, they can persist a lot longer during solar minimum, a time when the Sun's activity is significantly reduced.
In 2016, when coronal holes encompassing "six to eight percent of the whole solar surface" were discovered, NASA stated that these "coronal holes" were crucial to comprehending the space environment in which our technology and astronauts operate. While the exact cause of coronal holes is unknown, they are associated with regions of the sun where magnetic fields spiral upward and away from the surface instead of looping back down as they do elsewhere. These quick solar wind streams are of interest to astronomers because they occasionally interact with the earth's magnetic field to produce geomagnetic storms, which can expose satellites to radiation and disrupt communication signals.
Geomagnetic storms are associated with the earth's magnetosphere, which is the area around a planet that is affected by its magnetic field, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the US government. It is possible for energetic solar wind particles to strike the atmosphere above the poles when a fast solar stream approaches the earth. Such geomagnetic storms significantly affect the magnetosphere because the solar wind exchanges energy with the space environment surrounding the earth in a very effective manner. The geomagnetic storm that results when a powerful solar wind hits the earth can alter the ionosphere, which is a component of the upper atmosphere. Communications may be hampered since this layer of the atmosphere carries radio and GPS signals.
The NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, routinely takes pictures of the sun and monitors its activity almost constantly. The orbiting observatory was launched into orbit in 2010 as part of the space agency's Living With a Star Program, which aims to investigate how solar activity impacts our home planet and the region between the Earth and our home star. It is used to track the star's flares and outbursts and study space weather. You may remember another fortunate SDO photo from 2014, when the sun had a face that looked a lot like a jack-o-lantern for Halloween. The more contemporary shape that resembles a face is less frightening and derpier. Even if our neighborhood star occasionally spits out potentially destructive solar flares, it's comforting to imagine it as joyful and kind. smiles and kind service.