Five years in the making, this sun time lapse released earlier this month is absolutely beautiful, and a testament to just how amazing space can be:
Here's more on the project:
February 11, 2015 marks five years in space for NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, which provides incredibly detailed images of the whole sun 24 hours a day. Capturing an image more than once per second, SDO has provided an unprecedentedly clear picture of how massive explosions on the sun grow and erupt ever since its launch on Feb. 11, 2010. The imagery is also captivating, allowing one to watch the constant ballet of solar material through the sun's atmosphere, the corona.
In honor of SDO's fifth anniversary, NASA has released a video showcasing highlights from the last five years of sun watching. Watch the movie to see giant clouds of solar material hurled out into space, the dance of giant loops hovering in the corona, and huge sunspots growing and shrinking on the sun's surface.
The imagery is an example of the kind of data that SDO provides to scientists. By watching the sun in different wavelengths – and therefore different temperatures – scientists can watch how material courses through the corona, which holds clues to what causes eruptions on the sun, what heats the sun's atmosphere up to 1,000 times hotter than its surface, and why the sun's magnetic fields are constantly on the move.
While these are the most exciting parts of the 5-year project, there were certainly many hours upon hours of material that showed relatively normal behavior from the sun. Some of these image sequences remind me of Darren Aronofsky's The Fountain, which used organic material instead of CGI to get some of the incredible space imagery.
Though it was released a few years ago, this Earth time lapse is one of the most memorable for me. It was created by Michael König using images from NASA:
For more sweet NASA videos, check out their YouTube page.