NASA releases stunning decade-long timelapse of the sun

by Peter Heck · Jul 1st, 2020 10:41 am

Last Updated Jul 1st, 2020 at 6:45 pm

An incredible, one-hour timelapse video of the sun has been released by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory featuring still images of Earth's star taken hourly for more than a decade.

The observatory started in February of 2010 and by June of 2020 had compiled nearly 425 million high-resolution images of the sun, accounting for 20 million gigabytes of data.

The video, posted to YouTube, has already accumulated more than 2.5 million views and features fascinating scenes of surface eruptions and distant, orbiting planets. The timelapse covers what is called a full solar cycle, meaning the time it takes for the sun's north and south poles to flip positions.

NASA used three different instruments to capture the images, approximately 0.75 seconds apart, though the produced video only features images from one, taken at the same wavelength.

Still, despite all the pictures, there are momentary glitches in the footage.

"While SDO has kept an unblinking eye pointed toward the sun, there have been a few moments it missed," it said. "The dark frames in the video are caused by Earth or the moon eclipsing SDO as they pass between the spacecraft and the sun."

The lengthiest blackout comes during a week-long period in 2016 when NASA had to recalibrate one of its imaging instruments.


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