Check out the video, below.
What you’re looking at is three years of sun all compressed into an even three minutes. Beautiful. Scroll below for a description of exactly what you’re seeing — in the video you’ll see Comet Lovejoy and the Transit of Venus from the standpoint of NASA’s eye on the sun.
According to the researchers, “in the three years since it first provided images of the sun in the spring of 2010, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) has had virtually unbroken coverage of the sun’s rise toward solar maximum, the peak of solar activity in its regular 11-year cycle.”
This video shows the sun over those three years — at the rate of about two images a day. How’d NASA do it? NASA SDO researchers say its Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) “captures a shot of the sun every 12 seconds in 10 different wavelengths.”
So the images you see in the above video, they explain, are based on a wavelength of 171 Angstroms.
That’s in the extreme ultraviolet range of the light spectrum. It “shows solar material at around 600,000 Kelvin,” the NASA rep in charge of the project later wrote. That’s because, he added, “in this wavelength … it is easy to see the sun’s 25-day rotation as well as how solar activity has increased over three years.”
Notice also how the size of the sun appears to change during the course of the video.
That’s the result of the changing distance between the SDO spacecraft and sun itself. Even considering that, it’s an awfully stable range.
The SDO orbits the Earth at 6,876 miles per hour and the Earth orbits the sun at 67,062 miles per hour.
The SDO is a key instrument to help scientists learn about our star, Sol, and get to the causes behind such giant explosions. The objective of the project, after all, is to get NASA to the point where it can someday predict the solar weather.
, is to gain the ability to someday predict solar weather. Here’s a schedule of events you should
For DeepSpaceNews, I’m Gina Smith