1,000 Days Of The Sun

  • Released Tuesday, June 11th, 2013
  • Updated Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023 at 1:52PM
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In the spring of 2010, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, provided its first views of the sun. Since then the spacecraft has had virtually unbroken coverage of our star, capturing one image every 12 seconds in 10 different wavelengths. The collection of images chronicles the sun’s rise toward solar maximum, the peak of solar activity in its regular 11-year cycle. Repeatedly caught in the act were solar flares and coronal mass ejections, powerful eruptions that can send radiation and solar material toward Earth and interfere with satellite operations in space. SDO’s constant monitoring of the sun help scientists understand what causes these giant explosions—with the goal of someday improving our ability to predict this space weather. Watch the video to see a time-lapse sequence of SDO observations that spans three years in the life of the sun.

Twice a year for three weeks, the moon’s orbit sweeps between SDO and the sun, offering daily views of a solar eclipse.

Twice a year for three weeks, the moon’s orbit sweeps between SDO and the sun, offering daily views of a solar eclipse.

This solar flare (upper right), which took place on Aug. 9, 2011, was the largest flare so far this solar cycle, classified as an X6.9.

This solar flare (upper right), which took place on Aug. 9, 2011, was the largest flare so far this solar cycle, classified as an X6.9.

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NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center