Tuesday, April 23

3 Years Of The Sun In 3 Minutes

 photo sun.gif

If the earth is important to us for our survival just think what we’d do without the sun. The sun is our daily source of daylight. Sunlight keeps many plants alive by supporting the photosynthesis process and is a major source of Vitamin D for humans.

The sun is the most important object to Earth. Without the sun, life could not exist. There would be no heat, and all of the oceans would be frozen. There would be no light, and all plants would die. There is almost nothing more important to Earth than the sun.

The sun is an averaged-sized type G star and is middle-aged at about five billion years. Yet within our home solar system, the sun contains more than 99% of all matter. As for its size, about 915 Jupiter's could fit in side of it, as could about 1,206,885 earths.

Now NASA is giving us a chance to view something we can’t see for ourselves, our sun in all it’s glory. The Solar Dynamics Observatory has been watching the sun for three years now and this is truly an amazing view.

In the three years since it first provided images of the sun in the spring of 2010, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) has had virtually unbroken coverage of the sun's rise toward solar maximum, the peak of solar activity in its regular 11-year cycle.

SDO's Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) captures a shot of the sun every 12 seconds in 10 different wavelengths. The images shown here are based on a wavelength of 171 Angstroms, which is in the extreme ultraviolet range and shows solar material at around 600,000 Kelvin. In this wavelength it is easy to see the sun's 25-day rotation as well as how solar activity has increased over three years.

During the course of the video, the sun subtly increases and decreases in apparent size. This is because the distance between the SDO spacecraft and the sun varies over time. The image is, however, remarkably consistent and stable despite the fact that SDO orbits the Earth at 6,876 miles per hour and the Earth orbits the sun at 67,062 miles per hour.

Such stability is crucial for scientists, who use SDO to learn more about our closest star. These images have regularly caught solar flares and coronal mass ejections in the act, types of space weather that can send radiation and solar material toward Earth and interfere with satellites in space. SDO's glimpses into the violent dance on the sun help scientists understand what causes these giant explosions -- with the hopes of some day improving our ability to predict this space weather.

There are several noteworthy events that appear briefly in this video. They include the two partial eclipses of the sun by the moon, two roll maneuvers, the largest flare of this solar cycle, comet Lovejoy, and the transit of Venus. I included the times below.

This video shows three years of the sun at a pace of two images per day.

00:30;24 Partial eclipse by the moon

00:31;16 Roll maneuver

01:11;02 August 9, 2011, X6.9 Flare, currently the largest of this solar cycle

01:28;07 Comet Lovejoy, December 15, 2011

01:42;29 Roll Maneuver

01:51;07 Transit of Venus, June 5, 2012

02:28;13 Partial eclipse by the moon

More information about this video, as well as full HD version of all four wavelengths and print-resolution stills are public domain and can be viewed and downloaded at:http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a010000/...
Sources: YouTube and Internet

Sun photo sol09_small.gif

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The Overview Effect refers to learning firsthand, the reality of the Earth in space from the astronaut's point of view.Thanks for stopping by; your comments are greatly appreciated and may your view be an Overview.