Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Ahead of Halloween, the Sun Resembles a Jack-O’-Lantern -

Ahead of Halloween, the Sun Resembles a Jack-O’-Lantern - 

The sun is in the Halloween spirit early this year.

Scientists at NASA have combined images of the active regions of the sun from Oct. 8, to create a composite photo making the sun look like a jack-o’-lantern. “The active regions appear brighter because those are areas that emit more light and energy—markers of an intense and complex set of magnetic fields hovering in the sun’s atmosphere, the corona,” NASA describes on its website.

The images they used are of two sets of light wavelengths, one at 171 and one at 193 angstroms, typically colorized in gold and yellow, respectively.

According to NASA, specialized instruments  are used to observe light not visible to the naked eye. Extreme ultraviolet light of 171 angstroms can show the sun’s atmosphere, or corona, when it’s quiet. It also shows giant magnetic arcs known as coronal loops. Light of 193 angstroms shows a slightly hotter region of the corona, and also the much hotter material of a solar flare.

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