Halloween is coming fast and it's not just people and objects on Earth getting ready for the costume-laden holiday. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured a very interesting image of the sun on October 8. Active regions around our local star came together in a perfect way for All Hallow's Eve, combining to create the look of a jack-o'-lantern.
The active regions are areas of greater light and energy that appear in SDO images to flame outward from the sun. NASA shared this particular seasonally inspired image with the title "Pumpkin Sun" and it's easy to see how it got that name. The light forms two eyes, a nose and a wide, jagged smiling mouth that makes it look like a cosmic pumpkin carver got a hold of the heavenly body.
The image blends two sets of wavelengths (171- and 193-angstrom light) to give it an orange glow. The 171-angstrom extreme ultraviolet light typically appears as yellow, while the 193-angstrom light appears as a muted gold color.
Combine the two and you end up with a very Halloween sort of shade. The flares hovering in the sun's corona make it look lit up by a particularly enthusiastic candle from the inside.
Of course the jack-o'-lantern appearance is just a happy coincidence, and not a sign of sinister events to come. Naturally.