NASA’s 5-year timelapse of the Sun will leave you breathless


In celebration of the fifth year anniversary of the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), NASA scientists compiled the mission’s highlights into a mesmerizing timelapse video of the Sun in all its boiling, spewing glory.

Launched in 2013, the SDO’s primary mission is to study the Sun-Earth system, with particular focus on collecting and taking the most detailed information and images of the sun ever assembled.

SDO: The Solar Dynamics Observatory is the first mission to be launched for NASA’s Living With a Star (LWS) Program, a program designed to understand the causes of solar variability and its impacts on Earth. SDO is designed to help us understand the Sun’s influence on Earth and Near-Earth space by studying the solar atmosphere on small scales of space and time and in many wavelengths simultaneously.

timelapse of sunThe SDO is capable of taking extraordinarily detailed images of the Sun, which it does around the clock “at a rate of about one a second.” The scientists and astronomers who worked on putting together this stunning timelapse video of the sun had to sift through nearly 2,600 terabytes of data. The result is a series of linked images that shows boiling sunspots, extended solar flares and even the planet Venus moving across the surface of the Sun in silhouette not once, but twice.

In the video, we also witness tremendous plasma jets and all the frenetic activity that takes place on the surface of the sun. Although scientists are more concerned with how exactly the sun interacts with the planets around it, for everyone else these new views instill in us new found appreciation for just how awesome, beautiful and complex the sun is. Hopefully, with more images like these coming from NASA, citizens around the world will be more keen to support world leaders who champion increased funding for scientific research and exploration. Such mind expanding demonstration videos are sorely needed to put many of our petty human affairs into perspective.

About Author

Kristian strives to enlighten and entertain readers. In addition to his teaching and editorial responsibilities, he is working on a science-fiction novel that promises not to include exoskeleton suits and anemic aliens floating in mysterious vats of green-tinted goop.

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