This video shows a year in the life of the sun

NASA has created a time-lapse video of the sun’s atmosphere throughout 2015 Image: REUTERS/NASA/SDO/Handout via Reuters

Emma Luxton
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A new time-lapse video captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft shows the sun’s life throughout 2015.


Capturing the sun in extreme ultraviolet, a wavelength not normally visible to the human eye, the video shows the activity that occurs in the sun’s atmosphere.

It displays solar filaments (arcs of plasma), coronal mass ejections (large explosions of magnetized plasma) and solar flares (flashes of light caused by the sudden release of energy).

The solar activity shown in the video is around 600,000 Kelvin (about 1 million degrees Fahrenheit).

The Solar Dynamics Observatory records the sun at 10 different wavelengths, allowing scientists to see all of the sun’s activity.

The images allow them to better understand the “complex electromagnetic system causing the constant movement on the sun, which can ultimately have an effect closer to Earth”.

Monitoring the activity of the sun has allowed NASA scientists to discover important aspects of our closest star. The sun’s atmosphere is 300 times hotter than its surface, and this has baffled scientists.

However, through their research on the sun, scientists have found evidence that the sun’s atmosphere is heated by intermittent explosive bursts of heat, called nanoflares.

Source: NASA

This side-by-side image shows the sun at two different wavelengths. The left side shows the much cooler plasma activity closer to the sun’s surface. The right side photo shows “the finer strands of plasma looping above the surface”.

NASA says that research into the sun is important for many reasons, with flares and solar explosions sometimes disrupting technology in space.

“Studying our closest star is one way of learning about other stars in the galaxy.”

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