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This 10-year time lapse of the solar cycle is breathtaking

This weekend, you might want to go see the sun.

This would normally be a bad idea, but you could do it safely from your own home thanks to a new time-lapse video showing the sun’s solar cycle.

The Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) was launched by NASA in February 2010. It was the first spacecraft of its kind, and its only job was to study the sun.

NASA made a beautiful time-lapse video of the sun’s solar cycle, which lasts 11 years and is marked by the star’s poles flipping.

The Sun’s life cycle

The hour-long video starts when the sun is at its lowest point in its cycle. During this time, the sun is mostly quiet, with only the occasional burst of bright light signaling a sunspot or other type of solar activity.

In the video, the number and strength of these bursts increase until they reach their peak near the middle of the cycle, when the “solar maximum” is reached. After that, they start to fade away.

When the SDO was launched, NASA didn’t think it would be able to record the whole solar cycle because it was only made for a five-year mission.

But because it has worked for twice as long, NASA scientists have been able to collect data on a full cycle. They can use this information to predict the sun’s future magnetic activity, which could affect everything from the way satellites work to the health of astronauts.

Ten years of discoveries by the SDO

During the 10 years that SDO has been in space, it has collected a lot of data that has led to many discoveries, at least one of which may help us figure out how to power life on Earth.

In 2019, the SDO helped scientists find a new kind of magnetic explosion that they had only thought existed for a decade.

This could help scientists figure out how to better control plasma in the lab, which could help with the development of technology for nuclear fusion.

And the SDO isn’t done yet; it’s still looking at the sun, which means it could give us new information in the future that we haven’t even thought of.


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