It has been ten years since NASA launched a specialized satellite to film the surface of the sun—and they have now released a gorgeous time-lapse video of its solar movements over the course of the decade.
The Solar Dynamic Observatory (SDO) has been taking high-resolution photographs of the sun every 0.75 seconds since it was launched into Earth’s orbit back in June 2010.
To date, the SDO has amassed more than 425 million pictures of the sun in 10 different wavelengths of light, totaling up to 20 million gigabytes of photos.
So as a means of celebrating the SDO’s 10th anniversary at the end of June, NASA selected 87,000 of the satellite’s photos and condensed them into a time lapse view of the sun’s surface, with each second of the video represents one day on Earth.
According to the NASA video caption, all of the photos were “taken at a wavelength of 17.1 nanometers, which is an extreme ultraviolet wavelength that shows the sun’s outermost atmospheric layer—the corona.”
“Compiling one photo every hour, the movie condenses a decade of the Sun into 61 minutes,” the caption continues. “While SDO has kept an unblinking eye pointed towards the Sun, there have been a few moments it missed. The dark frames in the video are caused by Earth or the Moon eclipsing SDO as they pass between the spacecraft and the Sun. A longer blackout in 2016 was caused by a temporary issue with the AIA instrument that was successfully resolved after a week. The images where the Sun is off-center were observed when SDO was calibrating its instruments.”
“SDO and other NASA missions will continue to watch our Sun in the years to come, providing further insights about our place in space and information to keep our astronauts and assets safe.”