Watch 393 Days of the Sun in Six Minutes, 31 Seconds
The agency’s solar dynamics observatory just wrapped up its sixth year in space.
The sun is a gorgeous thing to contemplate, but gaze too long and you will, straight up, go blind. That’s why NASA developed a workaround for us: The Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), launched on February 11, 2010, was designed specifically to watch the sun in 10 different wavelengths of invisible ultraviolet light, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
It’s a doozy, and you can tune into the live feed at any given moment. We’ve already highlighted some of the incredible images and videos the SDO has graced our eyes with, and they look spectacular.
Now, the SDO has just released a new video showing its entire sixth year — January 1, 2015 to January 28, 2016 — in ultra-high definition. Each frame contains about two hours worth of footage, so in just six minutes and 31 seconds, you get the entire 393-day span.
The SDO works by taking an image of the sun every 12 seconds. For this video, the images are based on wavelengths in the extreme ultraviolet range. As time passes, the sun appears to expand and shrink. That’s not because the sun is actually getting bigger and smaller — the SDO is simply changing in its distance from the sun (as it orbits the Earth).
Watch the whole thing here: