Sometimes all it takes is an unexpected smile to make your day better. That kind of happy surprise doesn’t come much bigger than this.
NASA astronomers have spotted the Sun with a remarkable, joyful grin, in a sunny spectacle guaranteed to put a smile on your dial.
This incredible image, shared on NASA’s Sun Twitter account, shows the Sun looking positively radiant in more ways than one.
Of course, the’smile’ we see here isn’t a actually a real smile. As NASA explains, we’re looking at coronal holes (the dark patches) where fast bursts of solar wind erupt into space.
Among all the crazy solar fluctuations that the Sun exhibits, two of these coronal holes resemble twinkling eyes, while a third uncannily resembles an exuberant smile.
What’s going on here is a case of pareidolia, which occurs when we imagine seeing things like faces in random patterns.
It’s a mental trick, but this time it’s played out on a massive, Sun-sized scale.
As some astute Twitter users have pointed out, the Sun’s face here isn’t just a happy one.
The proportions of that exultant grin are strikingly similar to the facial configuration of a certain legendary villain from Ghostbusters lore: the Stay Puft marshmallow man.
Yes, it is a remarkable coincidence.
The phrase ‘separated at birth’ even springs to mind, even if it’s just another example of people seeing something that isn’t really there.
But even if this is just a meaningless, random confluence of mysterious solar physics, we shouldn’t laugh about it.
So have fun! And, whenever possible, try to find the positives in life.
Allow the Sun to be your illuminating example.