Timelapse videos that capture long time periods take plenty of photos and time to make. But NASA took this to a whole new level. Using 425 million high-resolution images, NASA created a timelapse that shows an entire decade of our Sun’s life.
NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) has been capturing photos of the Sun since 2010. To honor its ten-year anniversary, this incredible timelapse was made. SDO began operating in February 2010, but the video comprises images from June 2010 to June 2020. It lasts for about an hour, and every second of the video represents one day. It sounds impressive, but there are even more incredible data.
As NASA explains, SDO captures an image of the Sun every 0.75 seconds. “The Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) instrument alone captures images every 12 seconds at 10 different wavelengths of light,” NASA adds.
“This 10-year time lapse showcases photos taken at a wavelength of 17.1 nanometers, which is an extreme ultraviolet wavelength that shows the Sun’s outermost atmospheric layer — the corona. Compiling one photo every hour, the movie condenses a decade of the Sun into 61 minutes. The video shows the rise and fall in activity that occurs as part of the Sun’s 11-year solar cycle and notable events, like transiting planets and eruptions.”
Over the past decade, SDO has gathered 425 million high-resolution images of the Sun. In terms of size, that’s 20 million gigabytes of data. Incredible, isn’t it? These photos have provided scientists with countless discoveries about how the Sun works and how it influences the solar system. And they were also used for this awesome timelapse, to the joy of us, regular folks. :)
NASA released another similar video before: it was made four years ago to mark SDO’s 6-year anniversary. But as you can imagine, the new one has four more years’ worth of data. There’s also another, shorter video published earlier this year. As I mentioned, SDO helped scientists to learn a lot about the Sun, and this video covers ten of the most important discoveries over the past decade. take a look at it as well:
When watching the video that shows the decade of our Sun, you can jump to specific spots showing some interesting events. NASA has shared timestamps in the video’s description. And if you’d like to read and learn more about SDO, our Sun and other space-related stuff, head over to NASA’s website.
- Video credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/SDO
- Lead Producer: Scott Wiessinger (USRA)
- Lead Data Visualizer: Tom Bridgman (GST)
- Lead Science Writer: Mara Johnson-Groh (Wyle Information Systems)
- Music: “Solar Observer” written and produced for this video by Lars Leonhard