As children we were told not to stare (or even) watch directly) the sun as it can damage our eyes. Sure, it makes sense, but it also contributes to the mystery of the sun. We know it’s bright, but what exactly does it look like? Thanks to NASA, you can’t help but wonder, since they recently released one 10-year timed video of the sun. Here’s how you look at it and what you see.
What’s in the video?
At this time, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) has been watching the sun continuously for more than a decade; especially since June 2, 2010. So when they hit their 10-year mark on June 1, 2020, SDO put together this timed video with what was happening on our nearest star.
Over the past decade, the SDO collected 425 million high-resolution images of the sun, or an image every 0.75 seconds. This resulted in a photo of the sun every hour. For the time-lapse video, each day was condensed into one second of film, making it 61 minutes long.
So what do you see exactly? According to NASA, “the video shows the increase and fall in activity occurring as part of the Sun’s 11-year solar cycle and notable events, such as transiting planets and eruptions.” The video also contains custom music, entitled “Solar Observer”, composed by musician Lars Leonhard.
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Was it something the video missed? Per NASA:
While SDO has kept an unblinking eye on the sun, there have been some moments it missed. The dark frames in the video are caused by the Earth or the Moon being darkened by SDO as they pass between the spaceship and the sun. A longer blackout 2016 was caused by a temporary problem with the AIA instrument, which was resolved after a week. The images where the sun is out of the center were observed when SDO calibrated their instruments.
How to look
NASA has made the video available on Youtube, so anyone can see it from the comfort of their own home:
And this time you do not need special glasses.