NASA captures image of sun 'smiling'

NASA/Cover Images

NASA scientists have shared an image of the sun that looks as if it is "smiling", after one of their satellites captured the patterns on its surface on 26 October 2022.

US space agency officials posted the images on social media, stating: "NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory caught the sun 'smiling.'"

They continued, "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."

The smiling face is formed by holes in the sun's atmosphere which will send magnetic ‘solar winds’ towards Earth.

A solar storm occurs when the sun releases huge bursts of energy in the form of solar flares and coronal mass ejections. These send streams of electrical charges and magnetic fields toward the Earth at a speed of about three million mph.

When a solar storm strikes Earth, it interferes with the planet's magnetic field, creating auroras near the Arctic and Antarctic circles - known as the northern lights or aurora borealis in the northern hemisphere and the aurora australis or southern lights in the southern.