Sun Watcher

  • Released Thursday, February 19th, 2015
  • Updated Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023 at 1:49PM
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On February 11, 2015, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, spacecraft marked five years in space. Since its launch in 2010, SDO has provided incredibly detailed views of the sun 24 hours a day, capturing an image almost once every second. Through its constant surveillance, scientists have gotten an unprecedentedly clear picture of how massive explosions on the sun grow and erupt. Today, the spacecraft continues to send back tantalizing imagery that incites scientists' curiosity. By monitoring the sun in different wavelengths of light, researchers can observe how material courses through the sun’s atmosphere. Such observations hold clues to some of the sun’s deepest mysteries, like what causes solar eruptions, and why the sun's magnetic fields are constantly on the move. Watch the video to see highlights from the spacecraft’s past five years of sun watching.

Each day SDO takes thousands of images that show how solar material sways and sometimes erupts in the sun’s atmosphere.

Each day SDO takes thousands of images that show how solar material sways and sometimes erupts in the sun’s atmosphere.

SDO monitors giant magnetic fields that soar through the sun to record changes in solar activity.

SDO monitors giant magnetic fields that soar through the sun to record changes in solar activity.

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Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
Cover image courtesy of NASA/SDO/Pesnell