Solar activity is seen in a screenshot of a NASA video
Solar activity is seen in a screenshot of a NASA video
NASA has released a new video showing three years of solar activity.

The images were captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), which was able to capture images as the sun moved toward the peak of solar activity during its 11-year cycle. The SDO took two pictures of the sun every day for three years, which are compiled in the video.

The SDO’s Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) also captured shots at 12-second intervals of the sun at different wavelengths, including extreme ultraviolet, which NASA says is the best wavelength at which to watch the sun’s 25-day rotation.

According to NASA, the sun’s size in the video appears to change slightly because the SDO was not always at the same distance from the sun. Despite that, NASA said the images are very stable given the orbital speeds involved.

Scientists hope the information gathered from SDO’s mission will help them understand solar flares, coronal mass ejections and other solar events that can send radiation and solar material toward Earth, interfering with satellite communications.

According to NASA the following events are visible during the video:

  • 00:30;24 Partial eclipse by the moon
  • 00:31;16 Roll maneuver
  • 01:11;02 August 9, 2011 X6.9 Flare, currently the largest of this solar cycle
  • 01:28;07 Comet Lovejoy, December 15, 2011
  • 01:42;29 Roll Maneuver
  • 01:51;07 Transit of Venus, June 5, 2012
  • 02:28;13 Partial eclipse by the moon