A Decade of Sun


As of June 2020, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory — SDO — has now been watching the Sun non-stop for over a full decade. From its orbit in space around the Earth, SDO has gathered 425 million high-resolution images of the Sun, amassing 20 million gigabytes of data over the past 10 years. This information has enabled countless new discoveries about the workings of our closest star and how it influences the solar system.

Some noteworthy events appear briefly in this time lapse. Use the time links below to jump to each event, or follow the links to more detailed views.

6:20 June 7, 2011– A massive prominence eruption explodes from the lower right of the Sun. See the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HloC4… https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/10801

12:24 June 5, 2012– The transit of Venus across the face of the Sun. Won’t happen again until 2117. See the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Z9rM… https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/10996

13:06 July 19, 2012– A complex loop of magnetic fields and plasma forms and lasts for hours. See the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFT7A… https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/11168

13:50 Aug. 31, 2012– The most iconic eruption of this solar cycle bursts from the lower left of the Sun. See the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrnGi… https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/11095

20:25 Sept. 29, 2013– A prominence eruption forms a long ‘canyon’ that is then covered with loops of plasma. See the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qurh_… https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/11379

26:39 Oct. 8, 2014– Active regions on the Sun resemble a jack o’ lantern just in time for Halloween. https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/11711

36:18 May 9, 2016– Mercury transits across the face of the Sun. Smaller and more distant than Venus it is hard to spot. See the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PhO6U… https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/12235

43:20 July 5, 2017– A large sunspot group spends two weeks crossing the face of the Sun. See the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SungF… https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/12105

44:20 Sept. 6, 2017– The most powerful sequence of flares during this solar cycle crackle for several days, peaking at X9.3. See the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-ZQB… https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/12706

57:38 Nov. 11, 2019– Mercury transits the Sun once more for SDO. The next transit won’t be until 2032. See the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0yNzS… https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/13425

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