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Using images from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, a new video gives an unprecedented, ultra-high-definition look at the sun using wavelengths invisible to the human eye. Video courtesy of NASA
It’s time to ignore your parents’ warnings to never stare directly at the sun.
NASA is giving you the opportunity to spend as long as you want gazing at the brightest object in our solar system this week with the release of a new video that reveals the sun — rotation, solar flares and all — in unprecedented detail. NASA says the 30-minute video “presents the nuclear fire of our life-giving star in intimate detail, offering new perspective into our own relationships with grand forces of the solar system.”
These new views of the sun were created using imagery from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory. The SDO has its own eyes set on the sun constantly, capturing images of the star every 12 seconds in 10 different wavelengths of ultraviolet light. As is described in the beginning of the video, each solar image captured by the SDO is eight times the resolution of HD video. Each of the 10 wavelengths is assigned a unique color, with every variation helping to “highlight a different temperature of solar material.”
Using sequences of images from each of the different wavelengths, a team of media specialists created varying, detailed footage of the star, with every minute of video taking the team ten hours to create. With an added score from Lars Leonhard, this video allows you to stare at the sun as long as you want without that nasty drawback of retinal burning.
Sunglasses are optional.
Justin Scuiletti is the digital video producer at PBS NewsHour.
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