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5 years of stunning photos of the sun in one time-lapse video

Five years of the sun, celebrating the Solar Dynamics Observatory. Oh, and there's a bonus track.


Lisa Granshaw

Internet Culture

Posted on Feb 12, 2015   Updated on May 29, 2021, 1:28 pm CDT

For the last five years, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) has been keeping a constant watch on the sun. Since it launched on Feb. 11, 2010, it has provided us with images of breathtaking solar flares and activity that have helped scientists develop a better understanding of the star.

To celebrate this anniversary, NASA has released two videos on YouTube that roundup amazing footage from the SDO’s vigil. The first is a time lapse of images and the second is a collection of highlights from the SDO’s observations. Both videos include beautifully captured moments of solar activity and even show how the sun is observed in different wavelengths, represented by the different colors seen in each video.

“There have now been more than 2,000 scientific papers published based on SDO data,” project scientist for SDO at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., Dean Pesnell said in a statement. “SDO has also led to wonderful international collaborations, with the data being shared and used all over the world.”

During the SDO’s 24 hour, five year watch, it has recorded 2,600 terabytes of data and 200 million images.

“This mission has touched us on many levels; it evokes a sense of wonder when we see these beautiful images;” SDO program scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC Lika Guhathakurta said in the same statement. “It stokes our curiosity and it connects us personally to the deepest mysteries—from the warmth we feel on our skin when we walk outside on a sunny day to the distant reaches of the cosmos.”

Learn more about the SDO on NASA’s website

H/T | Screenshot via NASA Goddard/YouTube

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*First Published: Feb 12, 2015, 4:18 pm CST