NASA’s latest video of the sun is remarkably calming

15 Feb 2016

Image of the sun in latest NASA video, via YouTube

Who would have thought that a video of the sun, rotating, exploding and looking fairly furious, could be so relaxing on the eyes?

Last November, NASA produced a quite remarkable video of the sun, capturing five years of recordings on one 30-minute video.

If that was a bit too much of a stretch to watch, then the entire sixth year of direct recording has been put together into a more digestible six-and-a-half minutes, in remarkably clear 4K.

Using thousands of stills, which capture the sun every 12 seconds, NASA pieced it together into one timelapse. The stills are actually in 10 different wavelengths, each assigned a unique colour and actually eight times the resolution you can see in the 4K video.

NASA’s solar dynamics observatory spacecraft (SDO) is the cameraperson doing all the work but, because it’s position is not anchored, the sun appears to change size marginally throughout the video, reflecting where images were taken from.

The image is, however, remarkably consistent and stable despite the fact that the SDO orbits Earth at 6,876mph, and Earth orbits the sun at 67,062mph.

“Scientists study these images to better understand the complex electromagnetic system causing the constant movement on the sun, which can ultimately have an effect closer to Earth, too,” said NASA.

This is because a particular type of solar event – coronal mass ejections – can disrupt technology in space, and weather on Earth.

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic