NASA sun

We’re always talking about the idea of robots becoming self-aware, but if the sun managed the feat, that’d be a far more frightening prospect.

NASA snapped a shot of the sun on Wednesday, in which the giant ball of hot plasma seemed to be sporting a smile—hopefully for good reasons, and not because it’s about to explode. It appeared to feature two gashes for eyes, a round pug nose, and a flaming smile down below.

“Say cheese!” NASA began its Tweet. “Today, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory caught the Sun “smiling.”

The happy sun resembled a pumpkin on fire or what a person might look like if they were still somehow smiling while drowning in lava. It’s open to interpretation, obviously.

The smile is apparently not due to the sun trying to get a role in a Pixar film. Instead, it appears to be a result of science. NASA explains in the Tweet that “Seen in ultraviolet light, these dark patches on the sun are known as coronal holes and are regions where fast solar wind gushes out into space.”

Launched as a NASA mission in 2010, the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) observes the sun with a goal of understanding the “solar variations that influence life on Earth and humanity’s technological systems.” And also spotting smiles, apparently.

Meanwhile, the moon had the same blank expression on its face.

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Chason Gordon is a former staff writer and editor for How-To Geek. His writing has previously appeared in Slate, Vice, Input, and The Globe and Mail, among other publications.
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