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NASA releases incredible time-lapse video documenting the Sun over a decade

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NASA has released stunning new footage of the Sun captured by a spacecraft that has orbited the Earth continuously over the last ten years.

The one-hour-long time-lapse video – compiled using images taken by Nasa’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) spacecraft – shows the rise and fall in activity that occurs as part of the star’s 11-year solar cycle.

It reveals in spectacular detail dramatic events like solar eruptions on the Sun’s surface and shows the passage of transiting planets across its face.

During the SDO’s decade-long orbit around the Earth, the spacecraft gathered 425 million high-resolution images of the Sun, amassing 20 million gigabytes of data.

According to NASA, which released an accompanying statement alongside the footage, the information gathered has “enabled countless new discoveries about the workings of our closest star and how it influences the solar system”.

But despite all of SDO’s revealing finds, there have been a few moments the spacecraft missed, the space agency said.

Odd appearances of dark frames in the video mark the moments the Earth or Moon eclipsed SDO as they passed between the spacecraft and the Sun.

And a longer blackout observed in 2016 was caused by a temporary issue with the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) – which captures images every 12 seconds at 10 different wavelengths of light.

Looking ahead, NASA said it was committed to continuing to monitor the Sun for “years to come” with its SDO spacecraft and as part of other missions.

The information gathered in the future will provide “further insights about our place in space” and help keep “astronauts and assets safe”, the space agency said.

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