A Mesmerizing Look at Year 4 of the Solar Dynamics Observatory

by Nancy Atkinson on February 11, 2014

Four years ago today, the Solar Dynamics Observatory embarked on a five-year mission to boldly go where no Sun-observing satellite has gone before. SDO uses its three instruments to look constantly at the Sun in ten different wavelengths. Called the “Crown Jewel” of NASA’s fleet of solar observatories, SDO is a technologically advanced spacecraft that takes images of the sun every 0.75 seconds. Each day it sends back about 1.5 terabytes of data to Earth — the equivalent of about 380 full-length movies.

SDO launched on Feb. 11, 2010, and it has since captured the amazing views of the ever-changing face of the Sun — the graceful dance of solar material coursing through the Sun’s the corona, massive solar explosions and giant sunspot shows. Enjoy this latest highlight video from year 4 from SDO!

Coronal Mass Ejection as viewed by the Solar Dynamics Observatory on June 7, 2011. Image Credit: NASA/SDO

Coronal Mass Ejection as viewed by the Solar Dynamics Observatory on June 7, 2011. Image Credit: NASA/SDO

I was priveldged to be able to attend the launch of SDO, and you can read our article about the launch here.

The launch included a little “special effects” that wowed the crowd. The Atlas rocket soared close to a sundog just as the spacecraft reached Max-Q, and a ripple effect was created around the spacecraft. You can watch the launch below to see what happened:

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

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