Incredible NASA video squeezes 100+ Sun days into 1 hour: ScienceAlert

Incredible NASA video squeezes 100+ Sun days into 1 hour: ScienceAlert

Incredible NASA video squeezes 100+ Sun days into 1 hour: ScienceAlert

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center has released an hour-long time-lapse video that shows the Sun’s 133 days of life.

The video shows the sun’s chaotic surface, where huge loops of plasma bend over the star along magnetic field lines. Sometimes the looping plasma reconnects with the star, and other times it is ejected into space, creating dangerous space weather.

The images come from the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), a spacecraft launched in 2010 as part of NASA’s Living With a Star (LWS) program. Its primary mission lasted five years, but NASA says SDO should be operational by 2030.

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The images in the video were captured 108 seconds apart in extreme ultraviolet by SDO’s Extreme Ultraviolet Variability Experiment (EVE). SDO is in a geosynchronous orbit 22,000 kilometers (13,670 mi) above Earth, and the Sun rotates every 27 days, creating an ever-changing view of the star’s surface.

By observing, SDO measures the interior of the Sun, the magnetic field and the hot plasma in the solar corona. It also measures the intensity of the radiation that makes up the ionospheres of Earth and other planets.

Each day, SDO captures approximately 70,000 images, which adds up to 1.5 terabytes of data in total. This is an extraordinary amount of data, and the 2017 paper Nature who gathered all this data into one repository, described it as “… one of the richest and largest repositories of Sun image data available to mankind.”

Turbulent activity covering the entire surface of the Sun
An outbreak of active flares on the Sun. (NASA/GSFC/SDO.

Most astronomy deals with distant stars in other solar systems throughout the Milky Way. It’s easy to forget that we live next to a mighty star that fuses hydrogen into helium long before any life on Earth appeared and will last all life on Earth.

There is a lot going on in the Sun, and its activity affects the Earth and everything that lives on it. The sun provides a constant source of reliable energy, but it also has a disturbing, almost sinister appearance.

NASA’s LWS program aims to better understand the Sun, in part so that we can understand and predict powerful space weather that can damage satellites, power grids, and other infrastructure. SDO plays a vital role in this effort.

The white paper explaining the mission says: “SDO will determine how the Sun’s magnetic field is generated, structured and transformed into violent solar events that cause space weather.”

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The spaceship was a big success. In 2020, NASA made a video to celebrate the observatory’s 10th anniversary. He highlighted ten important observations and discoveries. SDO observed bursts of powerful flares, discovered a new type of wave, observed planets as they transited in front of the Sun, and watched a star tear apart a comet that came too close.

SDO is not alone in studying the Sun. SOHO (Solar and Heliospheric Observatory) ESA has been studying the Sun since its launch in 1995.

In 2018, NASA launched the Parker Solar Probe, which became the closest man-made object to the Sun. In 2020, ESA launched the Solar Orbiter probe, which will take the closest ever pictures of the Sun and explore the star’s polar regions.

The sun is a scientifically interesting object, but it is also visually stunning and is something anyone can relate to. As our civilization’s nascent space economy develops, we will have more satellites and other infrastructure – perhaps on the lunar surface – that will be vulnerable to violent space weather. Solar observatories like SDO allow us to forecast space weather and ultimately prepare for it.

Most of us play no part in it, but we can still enjoy movies.

This article was originally published by Universe Today. Read the original article.

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