To celebrate its fifth year anniversary of the Solar Dynamics Observatory’s (SDO) launch, NASA has recently release a timelapse video of the sun. The resulting project manages to condense five years worth of footage, into a mesmerizing 3-minute film.
According to News 1st, the SDO is considered the most sophisticated spacecraft of its kind. Owing its power to four advanced telescopes, called the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA), the SDO is capable of transmitting extremely detailed images of the sun – pictures of colossal explosions, massive clouds of solar particles ejected into space, and of budding and dwindling sunspots.
The mission was launched back in February of 2010, with the main goal of studying the sun. Where does it get its energy come from? And what’s its relationship with Earth?
Scientists are particularly interested in studying coronal mass ejections (CME) or bursts of solar wind/magnetic fields that are capable of discharging large amounts of particles into space – and potentially towards the direction of Earth. This can drastically affect the efficiency of satellites on the ground, which is why scientists are increasingly putting more effort into understanding the processes behind such bursts. They hope to be able to eventually discover the cause of the phenomenon, as well as the reasons why the sun’s magnetic fields are constantly shifting.
In the process of doing so, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has managed to capture the stunning footage you see in the timelapse video. In order to produce the film, one frame was captured every eight hours for five years, from June 2010 to February 2015.
The video comes at a time when we are beginning to see an increased use of technology and social media to connect and inform people about a domain that was once inaccessible to the general public. Just last year, for example, Canadian astronaut, Chris Hadfield, garnered over 1 million total followers on Twitter by taking photographs of Earth from orbit.
By doing so, a newfound public interest in space and space travel has been reignited, prompting many organizations to utilize social media as promotional tool.
To check out the timelapse, click here.