Sun Flashes A Goofy "Smile" For Halloween

By

Word Count

212 words

Reading Level

Listen to Article

NASA recently captured an image of the Sun "Smiling" (Credit: NASA.gov)

The Sun is getting excited about Halloween as well! On October 26, 2022, NASA's Solar Dynamic Observatory (SDO) caught the fiery star sporting a cheerful "smile." However, don't be fooled by the friendly "jack-o'-lantern" look. It could trigger a mild solar storm on Earth on October 29, 2022.

The three dark patches that form the "eyes" and "mouth" are coronal holes. The open structures allow solar winds to escape into space at speeds of up to 1.8 million mph (2.9 million kph). They appear dark because they are cooler and less dense than the rest of the Sun's surface.

Earth will be on the receiving end of the strong solar wind streams this time. Our atmosphere blocks the fierce bursts of radiation. Hence, they cause no harm to humans or animals on the ground. But the energy from the solar winds could disrupt our satellite systems and power grids. Fortunately, the impact is expected to be minimal.

Also, any minor inconvenience will be well worth it. When the Sun's electrically-charged particles collide with the Earth's atmosphere, they will spark beautiful light shows called auroras. The phenomenon is usually observed closer to the North and South Poles. That's because the Earth's magnetic field attracts the particles toward them.

Happy Halloween!

Resources: NASA.gov, Space.com, Weather.com

Workbook

Get the Workbook for this article!

Workbook contains: Article, Reading Comprehension, Critical Thinking Questions, Vocabulary in Context (+ answers), Multiple Choice Quiz (+ answers), Parts of Speech Quiz (+ answers), Vocabulary Game (+ answers)
Cite Article
Learn Keywords in this Article
177 Comments