Ahead of this year’s Halloween celebrations, NASA has shared two photos via their Twitter account of celestial objects in space to join the spooky festivities.
The first photo NASA uploaded was that of a celestial phenomenon that appears to be a galactic ghoul forming in space.
The “ghostly apparition,” as NASA described it Tuesday on Twitter, was actually an image of two galaxies colliding, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope in June.
“Each ‘eye’ is the bright core of a galaxy, one of which slammed into another,” NASA explained on its website. “The outline of the face is a ring of young blue stars. Other clumps of new stars form a nose and mouth.”
The space agency explained further that the galactic ghouls are 704 million lightyears away, relatively far from our Earth. The head-on collision will give the galaxies a ring structure for about 100 million years, which is a rare cosmic circumstance, according to NASA. Eventually, in about 1 or 2 billion years, the two galaxies will fully merge.
The second photo NASA shared to the public was that of the Sun showing the star looking like a spooky pumpkin. The picture which was taken in 2014 shows the “active regions on the Sun” creating a jack-o’-lantern face.
“Even our star celebrates the spooky season — in 2014, active regions on the Sun created this jack-o’-lantern face, as seen in ultraviolet light by our Solar Dynamics Observatory satellite,” NASA wrote on Facebook while sharing the image.
The photo was captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), which watches the sun at all times from its orbit in space on October 8, 2014.
“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,” NASA said.
“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,” the space organization added.
Notably, the SDO satellite is a NASA mission that has been observing the Sun since 2010. If you visit their website, they will be able to provide daily photos taken by the satellite of the star.
Concerning this year’s haunting holiday, the SDO also recently took a stunning image of the Sun, where the moon was passing by the satellite’s view.
The result of the SDO photo of the Sun taken March 6, 2019, was that of a stunning crescent-shaped image. Nothing could represent Halloween better than a crescent moon.
“The moon’s apparent reversal is caused by SDO first overtaking the moon in its orbit, then the moon catching up as SDO swings around Earth’s dusk side. During the transit the Sun moves in the frame as the telescopes cool and flex in the lunar shadow,” NASA SDO said in a statement.