A show that only NASA could do. Let’s talk about the timelapse created from a series of images taken in the sun over the course of 10 years. Yes, you got it right. Starting from June 2010, NASA’s Observatory on Solar Dynamics – SDO – has decided to take repetitive shots to allow you to observe the Sun in detail for over a decade. From its orbit in space around the Earth, SDO has collected even further 425 million high resolution images of the Sun., accumulating 20 million gigabytes of data over the past 10 years. This information has allowed countless new discoveries on the functioning of the star closest to us and how it affects the solar system.
The Sun as you’ve never seen it! Here is the video
Shoot the Sun like no one has ever done. NASA thought about it and acted ten years ago starting to photograph it with a system of unique tools. A triad that allowed the Observatory on solar dynamics to capture the images of the Sun every 0.75 seconds. The only tool of the AIA (Impression Imaging Assembly) allows one shot every 12 seconds at 10 different wavelengths of light. This period of time extended for 10 years has allowed to show the photos taken at a wavelength of 17.1 nanometers, which is an extreme ultraviolet wavelength that shows the most external atmospheric layer of the Sun: the crown.
Taking a photo every hour, Timelapse video condenses a decade of the Sun in 61 minutes. During filming it is possible to observe the rise and fall of activities that occur within the 11-year solar cycle of the Sun as well as notable events, including transiting planets and eruptions.
While the SDO observatory has kept its eyes open on the Sun, there have been some moments that have escaped. The dark frames in the video are caused by the Earth or the Moon which eclipses the instruments as it passes between the spaceship and the Sun. A major blackout occurred in 2016 and was caused by a temporary problem with the AIA tool successfully solved after a week. The images in which the decentralized Sun were observed when the SDO was calibrating its instruments.
SDO and other NASA missions will continue to observe the Sun for years to come, providing further insights into space and information to keep NASA astronauts and resources safe.
A little curiosity: background music been customized as needed for the Timelapse video and titled “Solar Observer”. It was composed by the musician Lars Leonhard and you can find all the information about it here.