Monday, December 5, 2016
The sun looks like a proud, happy dad with a huge smile in new photos beamed back to Earth by a sun-staring spacecraftThe new iages — taken by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory — show various features of the sun coincidentally coming together to look just like a face with a crooked smile and male-patterned baldness.
All in all, this makes the sun bear a striking resemblance to Frasier Crane or perhaps your father.
The smiley sun photo was first pointed out on Twitter by solar scientist after the Solar Dynamics Observatory's website was updated with the new photos taken today.
Battams told Mashable that the bright features that make up the eyes are likely "active regions" of the star, which are often associated with solar flare-causing sunspots.
The dark line that makes up the "mouth" of the star is a solar filament — a long string of plasma in the sun's atmosphere.
And the sun's "hair" and nose are coronal holes, which can shoot out solar particles that speed through the solar system bombarding the magnetic fields of the planets. This stream of particles is known as the solar wind.
All of these features are transient, however, so marvel at the smiley face while you can. (But please: Never look directly at the sun without proper eye protection.)
The sun's plasma and magnetic fields are constantly moving around and reconnecting, forming different patterns.
In order to keep an eye on the star, the Solar Dynamics Observatory takes photos in various wavelengths of light.
The truth is, you actually can think of the sun as the solar system's parent.
Scientists think that the sun was the first object to form from the cloud of gas and dust that became the objects of our solar system.
The star sucked in more than 99 percent of the matter in the disk of debris surrounding it, with the planets and other objects forming out of the leftover material, according to NASA.
The inner planets — Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars — are rocky because the extreme heat from the sun would have burned away any of the lighter, gaseous materials that compose the major outer planets — Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.
Cold, icy materials skirt the outermost parts of the sun's influence, leftovers from the dawn of the solar system which were never incorporated into the major planets.
The gravity of the sun also keeps the other planets in check, helping to steer their orbits.