NASA has released an incredible video showing a 10-year time-lapse of the Sun in glorious 4K.
The video shows one photo of the Sun per second for every day of the last 10 years, thereby condensing a decade of the Sun into 61 minutes.
The photos come from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), a spacecraft launched a decade ago from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
From its orbit around Earth, SDO has gathered 425 million high-resolution images of the Sun, amassing 20 million gigabytes of data.
The photos were taken at a wavelength of 17.1 nanometers – an extreme ultraviolet wavelength that shows the Sun’s, ‘corona’, its outermost atmospheric layer
The video, simply titled ‘A Decade of Sun’ shows the corona swirling, shining and blistering in incredible detail for just over an hour.
SDO has documented stunning solar effects on the Sun’s outer surface, including giant waves, coronal holes and magnetic explosions, as shown in the video.
‘As of June 2020, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory – SDO – has now been watching the Sun non-stop for over a full decade,’ NASA said in a blog post.
‘SDO and other NASA missions will continue to watch our Sun in the years to come, providing further insights about our place in space and information to keep our astronauts and assets safe.’
The video shows the rise and fall in activity that occurs as part of the Sun’s 11-year solar cycle, where it goes from very active to less active.
The video covers almost the entire 11-year stretch of our star’s solar cycle, documenting notable events, like transiting planets and eruptions.
Eagle-eyed viewers who watch the whole video will notice a few special guests at various points.
Venus makes a swift fly-by at around the 12:20 mark in June 2012, while the Moon blocks off SDO’s view briefly at around 53:30 in March last year.
Another puzzling shaking effect is seen just after 57 seconds, which was unexplained by NASA, while the camera briefly goes offline in the 38th minute.
While SDO has ‘kept an unblinking eye pointed toward the Sun’, there have been a few moments it missed, accounting for a few black frames, NASA 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.
A longer blackout in 2016 was caused by a temporary issue with one of the SDO’s instruments, which was resolved after a week.
‘The images where the Sun is off-centre were observed when SDO was calibrating its instruments,’ NASA said.