Smiling Sun: NASA Captures Mr. Sun's Adorable Smile In New Photo
The Sun is tilting its head with a smile in a new NASA photo.
Mashable reports that the Sun is smiling like a proud dad pleased with his children in a new photo released by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. The giant star's features form a smiley face pattern just when someone tilts his head to the left while gazing at it.
This adorable observation was pointed out by solar scientist Karl Battams on Twitter right after the Solar Dynamic Observatory posted a new set of images on its website on Saturday.
"Tilt your head to the left and smile back at the Sun," the solar scientist with username @SungrazerComets tweeted, including the hashtag, #SolarPareidolia.
The term "pareidolia" refers to a psychological phenomenon where people can see a random image out of something else. This usually happens to people who love to watch the clouds form different shapes or, in Battam's case, the Sun is looking like a smiley face.
According to Battams, the solar features that appear to form like the Sun's eyes could be its active regions releasing solar flares that cause sunspots. The dark curve that looks like the star's mouth is a solar filament consisted by a long line of plasma on its atmosphere.
Furthermore, the darker areas that appear like the Sun's hair and nose are called coronal holes. These are where the solar wind comes out before it travels through the Solar System.
The Sun's smiley face is only temporary, however, so people are just lucky to see this interesting phenomenon captured in a photo. The huge star's plasma and magnetic fields are constantly in motion so it is safe to expect to see more of the Sun's entertaining expressions of different "emotions."
The Solar Dynamics Observatory also posted the same image in different wavelengths of light for people to enjoy.
— Karl Battams (@SungrazerComets) December 2, 2016