NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory has been keeping an eye on the sun for three years now, and in honour of that achievement, they have released this video of the changes our star has been through during the last three years.
The video shows the increase in solar flares and coronal mass ejections (which send rivers of matter and radiation out into the solar system). The sun is reaching its 11-year solar maximum and the frequency of these events have been increasing.
Here’s what the video description has to say:
SDO’s Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) captures a shot of the sun every 12 seconds in 10 different wavelengths. The images shown here are based on a wavelength of 171 Angstroms, which is in the extreme ultraviolet range and shows solar material at around 600,000 Kelvin. 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.
The data from the observatory should help researchers better understand what causes these events, and help us predict them in the future.
Here are some special events in the video if you want to skip right to them, or watch the entire three years of data below:
- 00:30;24 Partial eclipse by the moon
- 00:31;16 Roll manoeuvre
- 01:11;02 August 9, 2011 X6.9 Flare, currently the largest of this solar cycle
- 01:28;07 Comet Lovejoy, December 15, 2011
- 01:42;29 Roll manoeuvre
- 01:51;07 Transit of Venus, June 5, 2012
- 02:28;13 Partial eclipse by the moon