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SYFY WIRE Bad Astronomy

Happy Solarween!

By Phil Plait

Even the Sun is getting into the holiday spirit.

That image, taken by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory on Oct. 8, 2014, shows places on the Sun where magnetic activity is high. In the far ultraviolet, the intense energies tossed around by these ridiculously strong magnetic fields can be seen, in contrast to more sedate areas. And, happily, on that date the Sun wound up looking like a giant pumpkin.

A pumpkin big enough to have over 100 Earths across its face, and well over a million needed to fill it up. If you want terrifying, then a star is a pretty decent way to go.

But if you do want more cosmic Halloweeny goodness, then you should go to my gallery of spooky star stuff, which has some honestly really cool and creepy shots in it. The Skull Flower gets me every time. This one of a ghostly chase scene embedded in a nebula is pretty funny, too.

Happy Halloween!

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