Video shows 3 years of sun in 3 minutes

By Stephanie Grimes | Posted - Apr 25th, 2013 @ 11:44am

5 photos

SALT LAKE CITY — A new video released by NASA condenses three years' worth of imagery of the sun into three minutes.

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory has taken a photo of the sun every 12 seconds for the past three years. The observatory chose two images per day to make the video, which is nothing short of breathtaking.

During the course of the video, several important events happen to Earth's closest star, and it appears to increase and decrease in size. That is because the distance between the sun and the SDO spacecraft varies throughout the year, according to NASA.

"The image is, however, remarkably consistent and stable despite the fact that SDO orbits the Earth at 6,876 miles per hour and the Earth orbits the sun at 67,062 miles per hour," the administration points out.

Events captured by the photos include a partial eclipse by the moon, the largest flare of the solar cycle in 2011, the comet Lovejoy and the transit of Venus.

Images such as those included in the video, which are taken in the extreme ultraviolet range, help catch solar flares and other events that can send radiation and solar material to Earth, or else interfere with satellites in space.

"SDO's glimpses into the violent dance on the sun help scientists understand what causes these giant explosions — with the hopes of some day improving our ability to predict this space weather," according to NASA.


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