NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) was able to capture an image of active regions on the sun which combined to look something like a classic Halloween jack-o-lantern’s face five years ago.
This phenomenon is known as pareidolia which is the psychological phenomenon where people see recognizable shapes in clouds, rock formations, or otherwise unrelated objects or data.
There are many examples of this phenomenon on Earth and in space.
According to NASA, the active regions in this image appear brighter because those are areas that emit more light and energy.
They are markers of an intense and complex set of magnetic fields hovering in the sun’s atmosphere, the corona.
This image blends together two sets of extreme ultraviolet wavelengths at 171 and 193 Ångströms, typically colorized in gold and yellow, to create a particularly Halloween-like appearance.
Image Credit: NASA/SDO