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Spectacular Time-Lapse of Three Years Worth of Photos of the Sun

The video displays photos at a rate of two photos per day, totaling to over 2000 photos. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) began their documentation of our closest star way back in Spring 2010. They meant to capture the sun’s ascent towards its “solar maximum” which signifies the height of solar activity in a regular 11-year cycle.

The SDO’s camera captures one photograph every 12 seconds in 10 various wavelengths. The video itself displays more of only one specific wavelength, however there is a montage of the other wavelengths towards the end of the time-lapse.

Some photos were also released alongside the video, showing the sun at different wavelengths:

sun at 171 angstroms

This image, is a composite of 25 separate images spanning the period of April 16, 2012 to April 15, 2013. It uses the SDO AIA wavelength of 171 Angstroms and reveals the zones on the sun where active regions are most common during this part of the solar cycle.

photosphere layer of sun

This video shows the sun in the 4500 Angstrom wavelength of light. It covers a time period of June 2, 2010 to April 15, 2013 at a cadence of one frame per day. Early in the sequence, SDO’s coverage was intermittent, so not every day is represented. 4500 Angstrom light highlights material around 6,000 Kelvin and matches the visible light appearance of the sun. The layer of the sun visible in this wavelength is called the photosphere.

193 angstroms sun

This video shows the sun in the 193 Angstrom wavelength of extreme ultraviolet light. It covers a time period of June 2, 2010 to April 15, 2013 at a cadence of one frame per day. Early in the sequence, SDO’s coverage was intermittent, so not every day is represented. 193 Angstrom light highlights material around 1 million Kelvin and shows features in the corona and flare plasma. 193 also reveals dark areas called coronal holes where the high-speed solar wind originates.

View the rest of the photos here.

Some noteworthy events included in the video include:

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

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Patricia Ramos the author

I am a freelance photographer who is no stranger to smudged lenses, long hours in front of the computer, heavy camera bags (and the back aches that ensued) and missing lens caps. If you know what I'm talking about, you probably have as much love and passion for photography as I do.

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