Sometimes all it takes is an unexpected smile to brighten your day. That kind of happy surprise doesn’t come much bigger than this.
This incredible image, shared on NASA’s Sun Twitter account, shows the Sun glowing in more ways than one.
Of course, the Sun’s ‘smile’ we see here isn’t a genuine 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 the Sun Smiling.
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 triumphant grin are strikingly similar to those of a certain legendary villain from Ghostbusters lore: the Stay Puft marshmallow man.
Yes, it is a remarkable coincidence.
Even the phrase “separated at birth” comes to mind, even if it’s just another case of people seeing something that isn’t 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 Smiling to be your illuminating example.