NASA releases spectacular 10-year timelapse of the sun

A screenshot from the video

It's hard to imagine what 20 million gigabytes of data look like, and it's all the more difficult to picture it as a decade worth of photos of the sun.

While we admit this NASA video is lacking in character development, we found it to be a timely meditation on our perception of time (every second in the video is one earth day), not to mention a relaxing work companion thanks to the ambient music supplied by musician Lars Leonhard.

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Centre has kindly pointed to some noteworthy events on the 61 minute-long video showcasing the Sun's 11-year solar cycle with its rise and fall in activity.

NASA recently released a time-lapse video featuring its decade-long coverage of the Sun-and the result is just as gorgeously mind-boggling as you'd expect.

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) is celebrating ten trips around the sun this year-that is, ten years of being the sun's most reliable photographer.

In the video, viewers can watch as activity on the sun's surface intensifies until its peak in 2014, when the star reached solar maximum, and then quiets down in the following years as the sun cycles back toward its minimum. A massive prominence eruption explodes from the lower right of the Sun. An event that won't happen again until 2117. A large sunspot group spends two weeks crossing the face of the Sun.

While staring at the Sun (via screen, of course), you'll likely notice a few dark frames: those, explains NASA, "are caused by Earth of the Moon eclipsing SDO as they pass between the spacecraft and the Sun". In 2016, a technical issue also caused the camera to go offline for about a week. The images where the Sun is off-centre were observed when the Solar Dynamics Observatory was calibrating its instruments.



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