The sun is always changing and NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) is always watching. Launched on Feb. 11, 2010, SDO keeps a 24-hour eye on the entire disk of the sun, with a prime view of the graceful dance of solar material coursing through the sun's atmosphere, the corona. SDO's Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) captures a shot of the sun every 12 seconds in 10 different wavelengths. 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: Flares and another type of solar explosion called coronal mass ejections can sometimes disrupt technology in space. Moreover, studying our closest star is one way of learning about other stars in the galaxy. Watch the video to see a time-lapse of the sun covering SDO’s sixth year in orbit.
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NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio
Active region image courtesy of NASA/GSFC/SDO/S. Wiessinger