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NASA Captures the Sun Smiling, But it Could Spell Trouble for Earth

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NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) has captured the Sun “smiling”, thanks to the star’s extremely active period.

NASA’s Sun Twitter account posted the joyous image which was captured on October 26 (Wednesday).

“Say cheese! Today, 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,” NASA writes on Twitter.

NASA’s SDO satellite telescope photographs the sun every 12 seconds in 10 different wavelengths of ultraviolet light.

The patches that form the smiley face are known as coronal holes — regions where fast solar wind shoots out into space.

Almost every day in 2022, the Sun has erupted in flares and coronal mass ejections, some of which were the most powerful eruptions Earth’s star is capable of.

These areas in the outer atmosphere emit charged particles that can trigger geomagnetic storms when they reach Earth. This sort of space weather poses a threat to the function of our orbiting satellites.

A Smiling Solar Menace

Putting aside the phenomenon of pareidolia, which is a tendency to see a pattern in an object where there is none.

The smiling face actually presents some danger to Earth as these patch regions are sending a complicated stream of solar wind. There is a chance that a severe solar storm may hit Earth today because of the space weather emanating from the Sun.

“There is a smiley face on the sun today. Take a look. Formed by holes in the sun’s atmosphere, the cheerful mein is spewing a complex stream of solar wind toward Earth. First contact, with auroras, could occur on Oct. 28th,” writes writes SpaceWeather.com, which first reported the news.

The dangers of solar winds hitting the Earth’s magnetosphere include damage to radio networks and GPS disturbances, this can actually cause delays to everyday people trying to go about their day.

The Sun is currently in a cycle of high activity and could reach a G5-class solar storm, which is the maximum. In that case, satellites in Earth’s lower orbit may be destroyed by such a solar storm’s intense heat and radiation, and shortwave radio, GPS, mobile network, and internet connectivity might all be severely disrupted.

According to DNA, the DSCOVR satellite tracks solar storms and the Sun’s activity in real-time. After the data has been retrieved, it is processed by the computers at the Space Weather Prediction Center. Solar particles are measured in a variety of ways, including their temperature, speed, density, degree of orientation, and frequency.

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