Even the Sun is getting into the Halloween spirit this year. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) just captured these awesome images of solar activity that make it look like the Sun has decided to dress up as the solar system’s largest, creepiest jack-o’-lantern.

The SDO has three instruments. The Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager studies the magnetic field on the Sun’s surface. The Atmospheric Imaging Assembly is designed to study the solar corona, taking images 1.3 solar diameters in multiple wavelengths. The Extreme ultraviolet Variability Experiment is designed to investigate the varying spectrum of the Sun’s radiant energy and its interaction with the environment.

The goal of the SDO is to combine the data from these three instruments to improve our understanding of the solar physics that drives activity in the Sun’s atmosphere, which in turn drives space weather in the heliosphere and on the surface of planets.

Head over to Nerdist to learn more about NASA’s phenomenal work at the the SDO and how they’re able to show us our Sun as we’ve never seen it before.

[via Nerdist]

The Very Large Telescope (VLT) is a telescope operated by the European Southern Observatory on Cerro Paranal in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. The VLT consists of four individual telescopes, each with a primary mirror 8.2 m across, which are generally used separately but can be used together to achieve very high angular resolution. The four separate optical telescopes are known as Antu, Kueyen, Melipal and Yepun, which are all words for astronomical objects in the Mapuche language. The telescopes form an array which is complemented by four movable Auxiliary Telescopes (ATs) of 1.8 m aperture. (Wikipedia)

Have you ever wondered what’s it like to be inside these telescopes? DeepSkyVideos on YouTube gives us very informative video walkthroughs for all four telescopes: UT-4UT-3UT-1, and UT-2.

(Image and footage credits: ESO VLT Page, SpaceRip)